Debutant Pedro Rodriguez inspired 10-man Chelsea to a 3-2 victory at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, while Manchester City recaptured the English Premier League summit by winning 2-0 at Everton.
A ￡21.2 million (US$33.2 million) signing from Barcelona last week, reportedly snatched from beneath Manchester United’s noses, Pedro scored Chelsea’s opener and created a goal for Diego Costa as Jose Mourinho’s side went 2-0 up at The Hawthorns.
Having earlier missed a penalty, James Morrison scored twice in response, but despite captain John Terry’s red card for a last-man foul, Cesar Azpilicueta’s first league goal proved enough to give Chelsea their first victory of the new season.
Asked for his thoughts on Terry’s dismissal, which came after he was substituted at half-time of last weekend’s loss at Manchester City, Mourinho said: “I prefer to have no views. I prefer to try to keep quiet.”
“I know many people are disappointed with this result. People love Chelsea to lose again. I am so happy the players got what they deserve. Four points in three matches is not enough. The feeling is we are fighting against a lot, but today we won,” he added.
Chelsea finished the weekend in ninth place, five points below Manchester City, who replaced Leicester City at the top after second-half goals by Aleksandar Kolarov and Samir Nasri put paid to Everton.
Morrison squandered an early chance to put West Brom ahead when his penalty was blocked by Thibaut Courtois — back in the Chelsea goal following suspension — after Nemanja Matic had tripped Callum McManaman.
Fifteen minutes later, Pedro announced his arrival in English soccer by darting infield from the right, exchanging passes with Eden Hazard and finding the bottom-right corner with the aid of a deflection.
Ten minutes later, Pedro’s cross-shot was turned in by Costa.
Morrison reduced the arrears by bludgeoning home when Salomon Rondon hooked James McClean’s cross back into the box, only for Azpilicueta to restore the visitors’ two-goal cushion in the 42nd minute by rolling in a shot after Costa had chested down Cesc Fabregas’s pass.
Terry saw red nine minutes into the second half for pulling Rondon back as he bore down on goal before Morrison reduced the arrears with a glancing header, but Chelsea held out, Courtois thwarting Rondon in stoppage-time.
At Goodison Park, both sides hit the woodwork either side of half-time, with Romelu Lukaku skimming the crossbar from an Everton free-kick and David Silva rattling the post for City.
Lukaku had earlier seen a goal ruled out for offside, but it was City who took the lead on the hour.
Raheem Sterling glided into the Everton box from the left and slipped a pass to the overlapping Kolarov, who deceived Tim Howard with a near-post finish from an almost impossible angle.
After Vincent Kompany had cleared a header from Gareth Barry off the line, Nasri sealed victory in the 88th minute by playing a one-two with Yaya Toure and neatly lobbing Howard.
“I am very satisfied because it was a difficult team,” City coach Manuel Pellegrini said. “I think we were very confident and solid in the whole game, so it was difficult for Everton to create chances.”
In Sunday’s other game, Watford and Southampton were both left waiting for a first win after a drab 0-0 draw at Vicarage Road.
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