LONDON – Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri got off to a winning start in the Premier League as new signing Jorginho slotted home coolly from the penalty spot in a 3-0 win at Huddersfield on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Tottenham eased fans’ discontent over its lack of summer transfer activity by resisting a late Newcastle onslaught to win 2-1 at St. James’ Park thanks to goals from Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli.
Richarlison struck twice in his debut for 10-man Everton, showing he may justify his £50 million price tag, in a 2-2 draw against highly-fancied Wolves, who were making their return to the top flight.
Watford, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace all picked up 2-0 wins on the opening weekend of the season.
Chelsea endured a turbulent preseason with Sarri replacing fellow Italian Antonio Conte less than a month before the campaign got under way.
The Londoners also smashed their transfer record and set a new world-record fee for a goalkeeper in splashing €80 million (£72 million, $92 million) on Kepa Arrizbalaga this week after Thibaut Courtois departed for Real Madrid.
“The situation until now has been very difficult. On Monday four players from the World Cup arrived and then on Tuesday another two, so it’s not been easy for me at the moment,” said Sarri, who believes it will take two months for his side to be at its best.
But Kepa was rarely troubled in recording a clean sheet as the visitors’ quality made the difference at John Smith’s Stadium after a slow start.
“The game was more difficult than the result. If you see the result you think it was a very easy match but in the first half it was very difficult against physical opponents,” said Sarri.
Tottenham has had a much quieter summer after becoming the first Premier League side since the transfer window was introduced in 2003 to not make a single signing.
But manager Mauricio Pochettino has insisted he is happy just to have retained a host of players who excelled at the World Cup and it was two of them who handed Spurs all three points at Newcastle.
Vertonghen and Alli struck either side of Joselu’s equaliser for the Magpies with all three goals coming in the first 18 minutes.
“It is important to be strong from the beginning and have belief and convey a positive message,” Pochettino said.
“It is important the fans know the players need their help.”