Chelsea showed their Premier League title credentials with a thoroughly comfortable 3-0 win over Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace.
Blues boss Thomas Tuchel said before the game he was surprised his side – who are European champions and won the Uefa Super Cup on Wednesday – were considered among the favourites to win the title.
But they were excellent in their league opener as Vieira’s first game as a manager in England resulted in a limp performance.
Marcos Alonso whipped in Chelsea’s opener with a free-kick from about 22 yards.
Christian Pulisic then blasted in a second via the underside of the bar after Vicente Guaita spilled Mason Mount’s cross.
The highlight in front of a noisy, near-full Stamford Bridge was when academy product Trevoh Chalobah smashed home their third from 25 yards in the 58th minute on his Premier League debut.
Chalobah, who joined Chelsea’s youth set-up 14 years ago, drove home from distance to seal the win.
Striker Romelu Lukaku was not able to play for Chelsea because he is still quarantining after his £97.5m move from Inter Milan. Influential midfielder N’Golo Kante and winger Hakim Ziyech were injured against Villarreal on Wednesday.
England left-back Ben Chilwell, experienced centre-back Thiago Silva and Kai Havertz, who scored the winner in the Champions League final, were left on the bench.
Palace improved slightly after the break, but Jordan Ayew’s header was their only effort on target.
This was the first Palace game under legendary former Arsenal midfielder Vieira, who previously managed New York City in the USA and Nice in France’s Ligue 1.
He warned beforehand that “to put my ideas in place may take longer”, but this was as hard a first game as he could have anticipated.
Nine first-team players left the club over the summer – mostly at the end of their contracts – after manager Roy Hodgson’s exit. Despite that, only one summer signing started – £18m defender Marc Guehi, against the club that sold him this summer.
Elsewhere, Rafael Benitez got off to the perfect start as Everton manager, with his team coming from behind to beat Southampton 3-1 in front of an ecstatic Goodison Park.
As Goodison welcomed back fans for the first time since 1 March 2020, the former Liverpool boss received a warm reception before kick-off which led to a positive start.
But the fervent atmosphere soon turned when Michael Keane gifted an opener for Saints debutant Adam Armstrong, who joined from Blackburn earlier this week, as he latched on to Che Adams’ ball to curl into the top corner.
Everton struggled for the rest of the first half, but Benitez’s decision to put Richarlison up front paid off immediately after the break as he poked home from debutant Andros Townsend’s header.
Benitez’s side, who were without the isolating James Rodriguez, then sent their fans delirious with two goals in the space of five minutes.
First, Abdoulaye Doucoure turned in the penalty box before smashing into the top corner.
And Benitez’s tactical switch proved a masterstroke as Richarlison, fresh from an Olympic gold medal with Brazil at Tokyo 2020, crossed for Dominic Calvert-Lewin to score with a diving header at the near post.
There was also a fine debut for Demarai Gray, who never stopped running and provided plenty of ammunition for the Everton strikers.
The win was only Everton’s third in the past 13 home games, stretching back to last season, when a European challenge stuttered under former boss Carlo Ancelotti.
Miles away Merseyside, Jamie Vardy picked up where he left off at the end of last season as his superb header for Leicester City at the King Power Stadium meant Bruno Lage’s Wolves tenure began with a 0-1 defeat.
The Foxes’ number nine was the most lively player on the pitch and struck just before half-time courtesy of a timely run and clinical angled header from Ricardo Pereira’s right-wing cross.
The 34-year-old, who netted 17 times last season including two on the final day against Tottenham, had earlier seen a finish from a tight angle ruled out for offside.
Wolves, beginning life under Nuno Espirito Santo’s successor Lage, missed a golden chance before Vardy’s header but, having run clear of the defence Adama Traore side-footed tamely wide.
Lage had promised a more attacking approach than that seen in Nuno’s final season at Molineux and there was certainly evidence of that after the break as the visitors pushed forward in pursuit of parity.
To stem the Wolves attacks, Brendan Rodgers handed City debuts to two summer signings in centre-back Jannik Vestergaard and central midfielder Boubakary Soumare.
It still took some timely blocks and an offside flag to rule out a finish from Conor Coady to deny Wolves an equaliser few could have described as undeserved.
The game also saw a return to action for Wanderers striker Raul Jimenez, who was quiet in his first game since fracturing his skull last November.
Additional reporting from BBC