Chelsea 2-0 Hull - Mourinho returns with the same old successful tactics
Oscar 13, Lampard 25
Jose Mourinho made the winning start that most were anticipating on his return to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday with a comfortable victory over newly-promoted Hull. But the game brought back many of the characteristics of his first spell in charge, as once Chelsea established their two goal lead in the first-half, they were content to relax.
After the crescendo of appreciation from the home supporters in greeting their returning hero was over, Chelsea quickly set about Hull, who were hardly afforded any time on the ball in the opening half hour when the game was ultimately won.
There was some impressive link-up play which always involved Fernando Torres, and on one of those occasions the Spaniard won an early penalty, squandered by Frank Lampard. But some more neat passing led to the opening goal, which was on the cards from the kick-off, the move ending with Oscar sliding the ball under Tigers ‘keeper Allan McGregor.
The work rate of Chelsea, and the pace of Oscar and Eden Hazard proved too much for Hull, while Kevin de Bruyne also made a fine impression on his long awaited Blues debut. The Belgian seemed nerveless, adapted well, and was not afraid to take a shot at goal.
Once Lampard made amends for his penalty miss with a bending long range free-kick into the top corner, it seemed that Hull, who finished second in the Championship last season, were in for a long and difficult afternoon, only for the old tactics of Mourinho to enter the fold as Chelsea dropped down a gear or two.
Admittedly, Chelsea do have a busy early season schedule, with Aston Villa visiting Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening, and trips to Manchester United for an important early season game and Prague for the European Super Cup, before the end of the month.
So, in the latter stages of the first-half, and throughout the entirety of the second, Chelsea were in cruise control, rarely threatening a third goal. At the same time, it always seemed unlikely that the visitors would drag their way back into the match, though they were afforded the occasional chance.
The fact that the game was effectively over did give Mourinho a chance to hand debuts to his new signings, along with awarding Romelu Lukaku, after a successful season’s loan with West Bromwich Albion, with an appearance. Andre Schurrle almost marked the occasion with a goal, and young Dutchman Marco van Ginkel looked to get forward whenever possible in his few minutes on the pitch.
For Hull, while it was a big day for them, back in the top-flight after a three year absence, in reality, they were the bridesmaids. Steve Bruce’s side made a fairly good fist of it in the second period, and on another day, may have snatched a goal, although new loan signing Danny Graham barely touched the ball before he was substituted. But there will be more winnable games ahead for them.
Overall, it was the ideal start for Mourinho, who unlike his predecessor, Rafael Benitez, has the utmost support from the crowd. Early indications show that long-serving pair Lampard and John Terry will be in favour this season, and the tactics that proved very successful the first time round, will be in full use.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Lampard; de Bruyne (Schurrle 67), Oscar (van Ginkel 85), Hazard; Torres (Lukaku 75)
Hull (4-3-3): McGregor; Elmohamady, Davies, Chester, Figueroa; Meyler (Huddlestone 59), Koren, Brady; Aluko (Boyd 79), Graham (Livermore 59), Sagbo
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