Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea recorded a win in the opening match of the Premier League. A brace from Didier Drogba provided the only Chelsea goals, as the Blues defeated a very brave Hull City side 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
The West London side started the match brightly and were nearly rewarded with the lead after just a minute and a half when Michael Essien’s cross from the right found Drogba inside the box, but the Ivorian mistimed his volley and the shot went well wide.
Chelsea dominated much of the first half, but failed to convert their possession into goals with Chelsea missing chances in front of goal and Hull defenders blocking many shot attempths.
It was Hull that would open their Premier League scoring account first in the 28th minute. George Boateng’s shot would deflect off of John Mikel Obi and fall into the path of Stephen Hunt, who fired into an open net as Cech was out of position. The goal came against the run of play and further endeared Hunt to the Bridge faithful, who gave the former Reading man a less than a welcome reception after the incident with Petr Cech 3 years ago.
Nine minutes later, Drogba opened the scoring for Chelsea, sending a free kick over the wall and dipping past the diving Boaz Myhill, The goal lifted the Blues and they continued to challenge Myhill and threatened to go ahead.
With the score 1-1 at the half, it was Ancelotti who made the first substitution at the start of the second half. Opting for more options in attack, Ancelotti would introduce Michael Ballack for John Obi Mikel. Chelsea responded through some good link up play in the opening minutes of the second half. Some nice link up play saw Drogba find Nicolas Anelka in front of goal, but the French international could only push the ball straight into the hands of the keeper. Moments later, Frank Lampard angled a shot at goal that went into the side netting.
Deco was introduced in the 69th minute for Malouda as the Blues attempted to play through the middle as their crosses were not connecting. Salomon Kalou was brought on for the largely ineffective Anelka and the two newest substitutes nearly gave Chelsea the lead as Deco’s cross found the head of Kalou, but he couldn’t find the net with his first touch.
With the crowd urging Chelsea onward, Hull must have felt that a point was a well-deserved result but Drogba would pop up once more to break the hearts of the traveling supporters. Whether a cross or a shot, a chipped effort towards the far post, from the big striker, flew over the head of the Hull keeper and found the back of the net to give Chelsea the victory.
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Terry (c), Carvalho, A.Cole, Mikel (Ballack 45′), Essien, Malouda (Deco 69′), Lampard, Drogba, Anelka (Kalou, 79′).
Unused Subs: Turnbull, Ivanovic, Hutchinson, Sturridge
Hull City: Myhill, Mendy (Geovanni 78′), Turner, Gardner, Dawson, Marney (Barmby 44′), Olofinjana, Mouyokolo, Boateng, Hunt (Ghilas 69′), Folan.
Unused Subs: Duke, Halmosi, Zayatte, Cousin