Soccer — English Premier LeagueSunday, August 24, 2014
Chelsea maintains perfect start
Chelsea, which beat Leicester City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge with goals from home debutant Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, heads the early season standings with six points.
LIVERPOOL, England — Diego Costa kept up the prolific start to his Chelsea career yesterday, setting the title favourites on their way to a 2-0 win over Leicester and a second straight victory to open the Premier League.
The Spain striker scored on his Chelsea debut in a 3-1 win over Burnley on Monday and was back in the goals five days later, breaking down Leicester’s stubborn resistance at Stamford Bridge in the 63rd minute.
Belgium winger Eden Hazard’s solo effort in the 77th ensured Chelsea has maximum points after two games against teams promoted from the second-tier League Championship.
Swansea is the only other side with back-to-back wins after beating Burnley 1-0, while Arsenal has four points after scoring twice in the final seven minutes through Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud to recover for a 2-2 draw at Everton.
Didier Drogba was given a standing ovation from the Chelsea fans when he came on as a second-half substitute for his first home match in his second spell with the London club.
But the Stamford Bridge fans have a new goalscoring star in Costa.
Signed for 32 million pounds (US$53 million) from Atlético Madrid in the offseason, Costa is proving exactly the kind of ruthless finisher Chelsea was lacking last season as it came up short in the title race.
“I got the feeling in preseason that his adaptation would not be a big deal, he is an easy guy,” Chelsea coach José Mourinho said. “His style of play has adapted to our needs, so it has not been a problem.”
Costa’s goal came after Oscar played in Branislav Ivanovic on the right side of the area, and the right back’s cutback was chested down by Costa and drilled past Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel from six yards.
Midfielder Cesc Fábregas and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois are other arrivals at Chelsea this summer and played key roles in a hard-fought win against last season’s second-tier champions.
Courtois — back at Chelsea after his loan spell at Atlético — again started ahead of Petr Cech and his save from David Nugent when the striker was through on goal in the 55th minute was crucial.
Fábregas had two assists in a man-of-the-match display against Burnley and he set up Hazard for the second goal against Leicester, with the winger collecting the ball on the left, cutting inside and drilling a low shot past Schmeichel into the corner.
Herald staff with agencies