Eden Hazard played a big role on his debut as Chelsea began their Barclays Premier League season with a 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.
Both goals came in the first seven minutes, with Hazard setting up Branislav Ivanovic for the opener and then winning a penalty that was converted by Frank Lampard.
Wigan dominated much of the rest of the game and pressed hard for a goal, with Victor Moses, Franco Di Santo and new striker Arouna Kone all forcing decent saves from Petr Cech, but the hosts could not make the breakthrough.
It took Hazard less than two minutes to show why Chelsea bought him this summer as he turned Wigan’s Ivan Ramis, another debutant, in midfield and played a perfect ball through for Ivanovic.
The defender showed composure to run on and slot the ball past Ali al-Habsi.
Ramis’s afternoon got worse five minutes later as he upended Hazard in the penalty area and Lampard tucked away the penalty.
Despite the setbacks the home side began to settle and dominate possession. Di Santo headed just over from an Emmerson Boyce cross, while Petr Cech saved a rasping effort from Moses.
Di Santo had another chance in first-half injury time when he was played in by Maynor Figueroa but his first touch allowed Cech to close him down and a combination of the goalkeeper and David Luiz cleared the danger.
For all Wigan’s pressure, Chelsea came close to making it 3-0 in the 63rd minute as Fernando Torres found some space and dinked a shot over the onrushing Al Habsi but Ramis rushed back to clear off the line.
Jordi Gomez had a good chance to halve the deficit when he got his head on a Figueroa cross but he could not direct it on goal and then the Spaniard saw his well-struck free-kick from 20 yards saved by Cech.
Kone, who scored 15 goals in the Primera Division for Levante last season, almost opened his account for his new side in the 84th minute but powered a header wide from a corner. Moments later the Ivory Coast forward forced Cech into a good save before Gomez acrobatically volleyed the rebound just wide.
|25 Aug 2012||v Southampton (A)|
|01 Sep 2012||v Stoke (H)|
|15 Sep 2012||v Man Utd (A)|
|22 Sep 2012||v Fulham (H)|
|29 Sep 2012||v Sunderland (A)|
|06 Oct 2012||v Everton (H)|