Frank Lampard and debutant Juan Mata saved goalkeeper Henrique Hilario from embarrassment as Chelsea beat Norwich City 3-1 in a game that saw Didier Drogba stretchered off with what appeared to be a serious head injury.
Lampard smashed his penalty down the middle to retake the lead for the Blues with just eight minutes remaining, after Grant Holt’s straightforward strike had cancelled out Jose Bosingwa’s beautiful opener.
After being forced to sweat in their last home game against West Brom, it took the Blues just six minutes to take the lead against the newly-promoted side, with full-back Bosingwa taking advantage of some space outside the box to lash a right-footed shot into the net from around 22 yards out.
The Portuguese’s goal came in a passage of play where the hosts totally dominated their opponents, but Paul Lambert’s men fought back just as the spectators were beginning to anticipate a bloodbath and, in the second half, Hilario was at fault as Norwich grabbed what was a deserved equaliser.
The goalkeeper inexplicably rushed from his goal to clear a ball that Branislav Ivanovic appeared to have under control, only succeeding in punching the ball straight to Holt – who remained composed to roll the ball into the unguarded net.
Things soon went from bad to worse for Andre Villas-Boas as Didier Drogba had to be stretchered off after being knocked out after a mid-air collision with Canaries ‘keeper John Ruddy.
The Ivorian was clearly out cold before he returned to earth after being struck by Ruddy’s onrushing fists and subsequently clattered into the ground in an incident that brought an end to his game after a delay in play.
New signings Mata and Romelu Lukaku were both given debuts late in the game, but it was Lampard who notched the winner after Ruddy had brought down Ramires as the Brazilian tried to round him.
Mata then added some late gloss to the scoreline, firing beyond sub keeper Declan Rudd to give the home fans something more to cheer about on their way home.
In the other game Liverpool continued their impressive start to the season with a convincing 3-1 win over Bolton.
Kenny Dalglish opted to leave Andy Carroll on the bench, but it mattered not as the Reds produced a sizzling attacking display.
Stewart Downing wasted a decent opening early on and then saw Jussi Jaaskelainen make a stunning reaction save, but from the rebound Jordan Henderson collected the ball before curling home his first goal for the club.
Further chances were squandered before Martin Skrtel powered home a header and Charlie Adam was another player to net his first goal in Liverpool colours as the Reds cruised to three points.
Ivan Klasnic netted in injury time for Bolton but it was scant consolation.
Everton stole victory late on against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, with Mikel Arteta scoring from the penalty spot to secure a 1-0 in a game that saw Rovers miss two attempts of their own from 12 yards.
Both Junior Hoilett and substitute Mauro Formica had missed spot kicks by the time Christopher Samba was harshly penalised for climbing over Marouane Fellaini in the 90th minute.
Arteta showed no nerves with his effort, as he calmly slotted the ball beyond Paul Robinson to snatch all three points.
Swansea City gained their second point of their season with a 0-0 draw against Sunderland.
Both sides had plenty of chances at the Liberty Stadium, with Danny Graham and Scott Sinclair both guilty of wasting glorious chances – the latter as he rifled a low drive against the post with Simon Mignolet left stranded.—Daily Mail