The Telegraph
Sunday , August 24 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Chelsea owe it to Costa

- Arsenal draw with Everton; West Ham win
Diego Costa celebrates after scoring Chelsea’s first goal, on Saturday. (Getty Images)

London: Chelsea secured a second successive win over a newly-promoted side, when they beat Leicester City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, thanks to second-half goals from Diego Costa and Eden Hazard.

Jose Mourinho’s side started the season with a 3-1 win at last season’s Championship (second division) runners-up Burnley on Monday and Saturday's win over winners Leicester gave them six points after a much improved second-half performance against the resilient visitors.

Swansea City also have six points from their opening two games and are second behind Chelsea in the early-season table after beating Burnley 1-0 at the Liberty Stadium.

Swansea played well for their victory and secured it when Nathan Dyer scored after 23 minutes.

West Ham United picked up their first points with a 3-1 win at managerless Crystal Palace, thanks to two first half goals in three minutes from Argentine debutant Mauro Zarate and Stewart Downing, and a second half volley from Carlton Cole.

Marouane Chamakh scored for Palace before Cole’s third for the Hammers but the Eagles have now lost both their opening games following their 2-1 loss at Arsenal last week.

Arsenal scored twice in the last seven minutes to escape with a 2-2 draw at Everton, after the home side had largely dominated the Premier League encounter at Goodison Park.

Aaron Ramsey scored after 83 minutes and substitute Olivier Giroud planted home a header in the 90th to cancel out the lead Everton held after first-half goals from Seamus Coleman and Steven Naismith.

The result meant Arsenal stayed third in the early-season table with four points from two games, although their run of six successive league victories, which started after they lost 3-0 at Everton in April, came to an end.

Chelsea and Swansea City head the standings with six points.

In the other games, Aston Villa drew 0-0 with Newcastle United in a dour match and Southampton were held to a 0-0 draw at home by West Bromwich Albion.

Chelsea manager Mourinho was pleased with the way his team improved after half-time with Costa scoring his second goal in two games after 63 minutes with an eight-metre shot and Hazard adding the second 13 minutes from time with a low shot after cutting in from the right.

“We didn’t play good in the first half.

“Leicester came with great defensive intensity, trying to scare us on the counter-attack and we were a bit slow — slow in moving the ball and slow thinking and we needed to change and we did that,” Mourinho told Sky Sports afterwards.

“The second half was compete control.

“I don’t forget they had a good chance with the result 0-0 but we had so many chances, so many opportunities to score obviously we deserved the victory.”

Leicester boss Nigel Pearson said he was disappointed, explaining: “Key moments didn’t quite go our way today.

“I thought we played exceptionally well in the first half, but it’s about taking your chances when you get them.

“There are more positives today than there are negatives. “We’re not talking about us coming to places like this and being happy to lose the game, but I think the players showed what they’re capable of. What we need to do is sustain it for the entirety of the game.”

Swansea, who opened their campaign with a first ever league win at Manchester United last week, picked up another three points against a battling Burnley side.

“I knew it would be a tough game. In the first half we controlled it, but in the second we expected them to throw everything at us and they did.

“But you have to applaud our players,” Swansea manager Gary Monk told Sky Sports.

“You have games like that and it's about the attitude of your players and the way they defended was superb, restricting Burnley to one shot on target.”

Stamford Bridge offered a heartfelt ovation to a returning hero after delivering a hymn of adulation to an emerging one as Chelsea underlined their title intent with the 2-0 win.

When Diego Costa came off 10 minutes from time and embraced his illustrious replacement, almost 10 years to the week since Didier Drogba first made his debut for Chelsea, the standing ovation for their beloved Ivorian felt quite emotional.

As the Spain striker rested satisfied on the bench, it was his name which kept reverberating around the ground after his second goal in two games, since his £32 million move from Atletico Madrid, and his first at home, broke the resistance of a Leicester team that had given the Premier League title favourites a searching test for more than an hour.

Costa, who hardly had a look-in during the first half thanks to the meaty defiance of captain Wes Morgan at the back, finally unlocked the Leicester defence as Chelsea cranked up the pressure, controlling a cross from Branislav Ivanovic on his chest with aplomb before bundling the ball past the seemingly unbeatable Kasper Schmeichel after 62 minutes.

Crystal Palace's caretaker manager Keith Millen admitted that a "tough week" may have taken its toll on his players.

The Selhurst Park club lost manager Tony Pulis, who guided them to 11th place last season, just before the new campaign started, while sporting director Iain Moody resigned on Thursday over offensive text messages he had exchanged with then-Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay whilst working at the Welsh club. (Reuters)