LONDON – Chelsea eased to a 3-0 home win over a toothless Crystal Palace on Saturday as the European champions made a strong statement of intent in their opening game of the Premier League season.
Spanish left back Marcos Alonso fizzed a free kick into the top corner to put Chelsea in charge in the 27th minute while U.S. forward Christian Pulisic followed up on the rebound to double their lead five minutes before halftime.
Chelsea's homegrown defender Trevoh Chalobah then completed a dream Premier League debut in the second half when he smashed a distance shot in off the post to score his first goal for the club he joined as an eight-year-old.
The defender, who has spent the last three seasons on loan in England and France, dropped to his knees after scoring to further delight the home fans in the biggest Stamford Bridge crowd since the coronavirus pandemic struck in March 2020, with more than 38,000 turning out.
The Chelsea faithful gloated of their status as Champions League holders throughout the game while Kai Havertz, scorer of the only goal in their victory in the final over Manchester City, was given a hero's reception when he came off the bench.
Palace were out-classed in their first league game under coach Patrick Vieira and needed over an hour to have their first attempt on target, a tame header by Christian Benteke which goalkeeper Edouard Mendy caught comfortably.