It was a dream start for Jose Mourinho. His young players are scoring, his veteran players are scoring, and his new signings are making a positive impact. On the pitch the manager acknowledged the crowd by waving and blowing air kisses, confirming his self-appointed nickname as "the Happy One."
The Chelsea lineup was a definite crowd-pleaser with John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Oscar and Eden Hazard starting. New signing Kevin De Bruyne played 67 minutes before fellow newcomer Andre Schurrle subbed in for him. Chelsea looked focused and confident in the first half especially, creating numerous opportunities and playing a quick passing game.
Hull City keeper Allan McGregor had a nightmare start after conceding a penalty in the fifth minute. The Scotsman punched Fernando Torres in the side of the head to give Chelsea their first chance. Fortunately for McGregor, Lampard’s shot was easy to read, and the keeper made the save. The Hull keeper came out of box several times throughout the match and was lucky to have conceded only two goals.
The first goal of the match saw Hazard, De Bruyne and Oscar link up skillfully with the Brazilian delivering the first goal in the 12th minute. Lampard scored on a beautiful, dipping free kick from 35 yards out that absolutely confirmed he belongs in Premier League football rather than Major League Soccer, where he was rumored to be heading.
The newly christened Hull City Tigers had only one real chance. A header from Curtis Davies at close range was saved by Petr Cech. Hull only had four shots inside the box, while Chelsea had thirteen.
Hull made up for the dearth of shots with a surplus of fouls (Hull City 14, Chelsea 8 via espnfc.com), the worst of which was a Yannick Sagbo foul on Ramires from behind. Another blatant foul brought down Branislav Ivanovic in the box only to be waved off by the ref.
Hazard finds Ivanovic who is shoved to the ground by Brady in the box, but the referee bizarrely waves play on. Looked a penalty. #CFCLive— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) August 18, 2013
David Luiz’s absence from the team sheet has left supporters wondering whether the Brazilian has a future under Mourinho. Some have suggested that Luiz’s risky tendencies will prevent him from being a mainstay. Mourinho prefers a reliable centre-back, such as Sergio Ramos or Pepe, whom he managed at Real Madrid.
It was gratifying to see that after all of FIFA’s resistance to Hawk-Eye technology, it was implemented in one of the first matches of the season. A header from Ivanovic appeared to have possibly crossed the line, but the ref was able to decisively declare no goal.
The players played on without the usual pleas, cries of outrage, and time wasting, making supporters wonder why the GDS (Goal Decision System) has only just been adopted.
Jose Mourinho was on the verge of celebrating the goal when the fourth official notified him no goal. The Portuguese manager was seen speaking amicably with Hull City’s manager Steve Bruce over the matter seconds afterwards—something that would never happen without GDS.
The most common description of the London club’s play was "incisive." Fernando Torres’ movement and interplay certainly falls under this category. The Spaniard created opportunities for his teammates without receiving much service himself. Torres would benefit from Mourinho playing two up top, but such a change is unlikely.
Chelsea’s victory was not undermined by Hull’s apparent weaknesses. The drama of Mourinho’s return, the quality football, and the combination of veteran and young players ensures this season will be a gripping one for Chelsea.