LONDON -- Goals from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa secured manager Antonio Conte a dream Stamford Bridge debut as Chelsea opened their new Premier League campaign with maximum points from a frantic London derby. Here are three things from Chelsea's 2-1 win against West Ham.
1. New-look Chelsea get off to a winning start
From the first minute it was clear that Chelsea were approaching the new Premier League season with a different level of energy and urgency, pressing West Ham deep into their own half and trying to exploit transition opportunities.
Costa and Hazard led the charge. Both look in the best physical condition of their Chelsea careers, with Willian maintaining the relentless running that helped make him the only redeeming feature of their disastrous Premier League title defence.
Inevitably, the enthusiasm at times overflowed. N'Golo Kante was booked just three times for Leicester City last season but earned a yellow card from referee Anthony Taylor three minutes into his Chelsea career after a rash foul on Andy Carroll. Once Kante's nerves settled, the Frenchman patrolled and destroyed with familiar frequency but was lucky not to be sent off for a mistimed tackle on Dimitri Payet late on. By that point, Costa should already have received his marching orders, compounding a first-half booking for dissent with an ugly, mistimed challenge on keeper Adrian.
On the bench, Conte lived every moment, pointing and shouting, micromanaging everything, and pausing for breath only to perfectly cushion a high ball that had floated out of play and into the Chelsea technical area. Stamford Bridge cheered as he smiled mischievously at West Ham manager Slaven Bilic, but battle quickly resumed.
Chelsea's intensity finally told when Cesar Azpilicueta blocked West Ham defender Michail Antonio's attempted clearance on the edge of the West Ham box before drawing a deserved penalty early in the second half. Hazard fired it high into Adrian's net to score Chelsea's 5,000th top-flight Premier League goal and his fifth in six matches, a strong return after a 29-game barren spell.
Even if he hadn't found the net, Chelsea supporters and Conte could still take heart from the fact that this was the 2015 PFA Player of the Year, not the listless shadow of a winger who last season drifted through the worst campaign of owner Roman Abramovich's tenure.
James Collins' opportunistic 77th-minute equaliser, after Chelsea's slack marking on a West Ham corner kick, threatened to give Conte some food for thought. But Costa's superb low finish from a Michy Batshuayi flick in the closing minutes ensured a perfect Stamford Bridge introduction.
2. Conte's formation, tactics taking root
Though not entirely unexpected, the big news before kickoff was the inclusion of Oscar ahead of Cesc Fabregas in Conte's new-look Chelsea midfield. What the Brazilian lacks in experience and poise (in comparison to the Spaniard), he more than makes up for in tenacity and direct running. Some of Chelsea's best chances in a scrappy opening 45 minutes sprang from their primary midfield playmaker pickpocketing West Ham midfielders in dangerous areas.
Conte sent Fabregas to warm up with Chelsea 1-0 up in the second half, and it's quite possible he would have been introduced had Collins' strike not changed the script. Then again, it is tempting to wonder what this means for the 29-year-old when he finds himself behind a younger man who, until fairly recently, was being heavily linked with the Stamford Bridge exit door.
Chelsea missed Fabregas' keen eye for a killer pass throughout, and neither of their goals was particularly intricate in creation. But the trio of Kante, Nemanja Matic and Oscar at least ensured that the Blues were able to match the intensity of their talented visitors, as was too rarely the case last season.
In defence, John Terry and Gary Cahill handled the unique threat of Carroll much better than in this fixture last season, though teams with greater pace up front will be better placed to expose their weaknesses. Branislav Ivanovic, perhaps Chelsea's first-team player with the smallest margin for error after Ola Aina's promising preseason, played as if the last 12 months of his career never happened.
At the other end, the introduction of Batshuayi in the 85th minute and Chelsea's subsequent shift to a two-man strike force posed questions that the West Ham defence couldn't answer. Conte will have to decide whether diluting his midfield will be a viable option from the start of Premier League matches, but on this evidence, it is at the very least a promising Plan B.
Chelsea's new head coach didn't see everything he wanted to see from his players on Monday -- the constant stream of bellowed instructions and furious gesticulations from the touchline were testament to that -- but there was more than enough to suggest that his players are absorbing his ideas quicker than most expected.
3. West Ham play without fear, still lose
West Ham are without a win in their last 11 Premier League visits to Stamford Bridge, but gone are the days when they face Chelsea (or any other member of English football's established elite) with fear or trepidation.
Despite star man Dimitri Payet being fit enough only for a substitute role, while new signing Sofiane Feghouli is not yet available, Bilic's men displayed confidence and organisation to face Chelsea on an equal footing for much of the match. But on the night, luck as well as history was against them.
Club-record signing Andre Ayew was forced to leave the pitch after just 35 minutes with what looked like a significant thigh injury. Until then he had buzzed dangerously around the final third, threatening to replicate his debut goal for Swansea City at Stamford Bridge almost exactly a year ago.
Chelsea's relentless pressing overwhelmed West Ham at key moments, exposing Michail Antonio as a square peg in a round hole at right-back early in the second half. Costa was afforded space on the edge of the box to cap the home side's late siege with the dramatic winner. But in between, West Ham refused to be cowed by the occasion or their opponents, snatching an equaliser through Collins just when Chelsea were starting to look comfortable with their narrow lead.
Bilic, who matched Conte's furious energy on the touchline, can also feel rightly aggrieved that neither Costa nor Kante were sent off for what were clear second booking offences.
Another cause of optimism for West Ham is that their Premier League fixture list looks significantly kinder in the coming weeks, with the exception of a trip to the Etihad Stadium to face Pep Guardiola's Manchester City on Aug. 28. With Payet fully back, quality signings still to integrate, and further reinforcements possible, West Ham look well-equipped to challenge the Premier League's most illustrious powers.