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Chelsea begins EPL title bid with 3-0 win over Palace

August 14, 2021 GMT
Chelsea's Marcos Alonso, left, celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game with teammate Mason Mount during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge, London, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (Tess Derry/PA via AP)
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Chelsea's Marcos Alonso, left, celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game with teammate Mason Mount during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge, London, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (Tess Derry/PA via AP)
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Chelsea's Marcos Alonso, left, celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game with teammate Mason Mount during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge, London, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (Tess Derry/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Chelsea began its bid to follow up a Champions League title with another Premier League trophy by beating Crystal Palace 3-0 on Saturday, illustrating the size of the task facing newly hired manager Patrick Vieira at the visitors.

Defenders Marcos Alonso and Trevoh Chalobah — with his first goal for Chelsea, on his Premier League debut — scored either side of a close-range strike by U.S. forward Christian Pulisic in a dominant display by Thomas Tuchel’s team.

The win came three days after Chelsea won the UEFA Super Cup by beating Villarreal in a penalty shootout.

While it makes for a perfect start to the season for the European champions, Palace could be facing up to a tough year under Vieira, the former Arsenal and France star who replaced Roy Hodgson in charge for his first senior managerial role in English soccer.

Vieira has pledged to adopt a more attacking style than previous Palace managers, but his team barely created a clear-cut chance at Stamford Bridge. This shouldn’t be the game to judge him, though.

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Even without Romelu Lukaku, who completed his move from Inter Milan for a club-record $135 million on Friday, Chelsea had far too much going forward for Palace — with even two defenders chipping in with goals.

Alonso, an attacking wing back, was dangerous throughout and capped an impressive display by curling a free kick over the defensive wall and inside the near post in the 27th minute.

Pulisic made it 2-0 by converting a finish from close range after Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita failed to gather a low cross by Cesar Azpilicueta from the right.

The 22-year-old Chalobah, who played on the right of the back three after making his first competitive senior appearance for Chelsea against Villarreal, completed a memorable few days by scoring the third goal. It was a brilliant one, too, as he collected a pass midway into Palace’s half on the right, advanced, and drilled a low shot in off the far post from 25 meters.

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