And that is that. Chelsea hardly looked at their very best, but still did more than enough to win comfortably against a West Brom side with work to do. I feel comfortable in predicting these two sides will be at opposite ends of the table come the end of the season.
Goal Florent Malouda
AND THAT IS SIX!!! A really, really nicely worked goal from the Blues. Malouda rounds Carson to flick the ball in off the post, but it was a wonderfully clipped in through ball from Anelka after some quality build-up play that really made it.
West Brom getting a chance or two now. Barnes' cross only just eludes Balotelli, sorry, Miller, who recovers the ball and cuts it back for Cox — whose cross only flashes narrowly wide of the near post!
Brunt blasts another effort over from about 30 yards. That one wasn't so good.
OOOH, nearly a consolation for WEST BROM! Brunt's vicious drive is deflected over thanks to Alex's forehead, with Cech looking beaten. The clean sheet remains intact.
Substitution Jerome Thomas Giles Barnes
The game's final substitution — Giles Barnes replaces the not-as-bad-as-some Jerome Thomas.
If you squint somewhat, Ishmael Miller looks a bit like new Manchester City signing Mario Balotelli. But what Brom really need is someone who can play like him.
Chelsea expressing themselves much more now. A rampaging John Terry wins a free kick on the edge of the box. Malouda flicks it over the bar. Everyone's having a go now Drogba and Lampard have gone off...
Note it down — Scott Carson makes a save. Nearly slipped through his legs, mind, but the former England shot-stopper just about prevents Anelka slipping in his first goal of the game from close range.
Of course, Drogba's final goal knocked Blackpool off the top of the table. Which is a bit of a disappointment for fans of unusual opening day stories.
West Brom now all over the shop at the back. Only a touch-and-go offside call prevents Anelka from being free in acres of space inside the opposition box.
Substitution Didier Drogba Salomon Kalou
And now Drogba gets given a rest. Four shots, three goals. Impressive stuff. Countryman Salomon Kalou replaces him.
Goal Didier Drogba
GOLAZO! HAT-TRICK!! 5-0!!!! Cole wins the ball, finds Drogba wide on the left. The big forward cuts inside and unleashes a rasping drive that takes a wicked deflection off Tamas before settling inside the near post. When it's going for you...
Substitution Graham Dorrans Simon Cox
Substitution Roman Bednar Ishmael Miller
Two subs for Brom: Bednar and Dorrans replaced by two strikers in Miller and Cox. A change in approach from Roberto, it seems.
Frustration beginning to set in for the Baggies. Someone really should give them a white flag to wave. They've not been awful, but Chelsea have clearly been a cut above.
And that's Lampard's race run. Applause from everyone — including Mr Abramovich. Replacing him is Yossi Benayoun, who may or may not look a tad ridiculous in Chelsea's skin-tight shirts.
Substitution Frank Lampard Yossi Benayoun
Goal Frank Lampard
And LAMPARD MAKES IT FOUR!!! Easy, easy, easy for Chelsea, passing it around with both panache and purpose. Cole eventually gets the ball inside the box, and slips it inside to Frank who passes it beyond Carson from barely six yards. 4-0.
Commentators talking about Chelsea's various demolition jobs last year. Di Matteo no doubt getting out his notebook entitled 'Damage Limitation'.
Substitution Paulo Ferreira Branislav Ivanovic
Chelsea make a substitution, Ivanovic on for Ferreira. Hardly surprising, the latter has been poor — and just picked up a yellow card to boot. Hard to think he was once a £13m full-back.
Yellow Card Paulo Ferreira
Goal Didier Drogba
AND AS I SAY THAT..... 3-0!! Drogba again with the finish, this time a simple tap in. Lampard's cross finds the head of Terry, with Mulumbu scrambling to clear the ball off the line. But the ball falls to the Ivorian — who makes no mistake in putting it in the back of the net!!
It's all West Brom right now. Dorrans curls a good-looking free-kick barely over the bar, with Cech scrambling slightly.
A shot for West Brom! Dorrans — again — with the effort, and again it is deflected but fortunately for a stranded Cech it loops a good few yards wide of his far post.
Jara's done well after struggling in the opening exchanges. He's coped well with Cole's forays forward. Malouda shanks a speculative shot wide of the post.
Good passing from Chelsea (again) sees Essien find the ball on the edge of the box. The Ghanaian slides a nice ball inside to Ferreira, but Thomas gets back to nick it away. Good work.
We are back in the game...
Nearly ready to resume. No doubt Ancelotti and Di Matteo have inspired their respective sides with their one word teamtalks...
As for Chelsea, they look happy to have been gifted a pair of goals. Only worry is Ferreira at right back, but even that hasn't put them in any real trouble so far today.
First half one-word report? Yeah, why not. Chelsea: Comfortable. West Brom: Trying. The visitors certainly don't look like they'll be pushovers this season, but don't exactly look full of goals.
And that is half-time. Fairly easy from the hosts.
Goal Didier Drogba
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Chelsea win another free-kick in the 25-30 yard range, West Brom resorting to that to prevent real danger. Drogba takes it, and hits it through the wall and sees it take one bounce before beating Carson inside his near post. A fine goal to score, a poor one to concede.
John Terry makes two fine blocks to keep Petr Cech from being called into real action. The other Cech, Marek, then fires a 30-yard drive high, wide and not so handsome.
Thomas' shadow is doing a better job of defending against him than Ferreira right now. The winger again beats the right-back, but just as West Brom look like they might have a chance the cross sales harmlessly beyond Cech's far post.
OOOOOH!!! Chelsea win a free-kick 25 yards out, which Drogba surprisingly leaves for Lampard. The No. 8 rifles the ball at Carson — who again can only parry it away in front of him — but fortunately Mikel's follow-up header this time flies high over the bar.
Chelsea slowly turning the screw... only a last ditch intervention from Jara prevents Malouda putting the final touches to another great team passing move.
West Brom cause a modicum of panic in the Chelsea box with a couple of crosses that threaten to find a black shirt. But so far no luck.
SOME ACTION! Lampard wins the ball and plays it through to Malouda — who has just enough time to crash a shot against the post before the referee blows for offside.
Seriously, when something worthwhile happens I'll let you know. At the moment it is as if Chelsea have the handbrake on and West Brom are reluctant to point it out.
Why not another one word description? Chelsea: Restrained. West Brom: Improving. Overall game since the goal: Boring.
The game is currently something of a stand-off. Chelsea aren't too concerned about finding a second goal — stringing nearly 30 passes together at one point — but West Brom don't quite have the attackers to create their own threat in the final third.
Both sides happy to pass around the ball, looking for an opening. But so far neither side is leaving too much to exploit at the back. West Brom really looking decent since conceding that early goal.
Carson makes a fine sprawling save from Malouda... but the Frenchman had already (incorrectly, replays suggest) been ruled out for offside.
Thomas against Ferreira is one obvious mismatch in West Brom's favour. The English winger again beats his man, but the away side just can't manufacture a shooting chance.
Ibanez beats Drogba in the air and then wins a free-kick for the contact. The Spanish international is slight of build, but is doing pretty well against the Ivorian so far.
West Brom get it IN THE NET.... but unfortunately it's ruled offside. Bednar with a wonderful slotted finish past Petr Cech, but replies show he was indeed a yard past the last man as he was played in.
Possession stats to date will be kind on West Brom, they pass around the ball with composure and are giving Chelsea some cause for concern. But you sense the home side will create real danger as the move quickly on the break.
Fifteen minutes in, not much going on so I'll give you all a one-word description of each side's starts. Chelsea: Assured. West Brom: Nervous.
Promising from WBA. Jerome Thomas skins Ferreira and flicks the ball inside to Marek Cech who wins a free-kick in a good area. The ball in is dangerous, but Ibanez is penalised for pushing.
First taste of the action for Cech. Dorrans — scoring of umpteen goals in the Championship last season — fires his shot at goal, and a deflection off John Terry forces the goalkeeper to push the ball out. The resulting corner is easily headed clear...
The rain coming down very heavily now, as West Brom start to build a little bit of momentum. Look shaky at the back, though, Cole's low cross causing havoc as it evades everyone on the way out...
Goal Florent Malouda
Carson definitely at fault for the opener — it was a simple save that he allowed to pop out of his arms. Ancelotti delighted anyway, the perfect start to his side's title defence...
GOOOOOAAAAAAAL!! Chelsea are off and away. A free-kick is won on the edge of the area by the Blues. Drogba's sidefoot strike can't beat Carson, but it bounces out of his hands to Mikel, who flicks the ball left to Malouda to fire home from five yards. 1-0!
Chelsea, after a fairly slow start, test Scott Carson for the first time through Nicolas Anelka. The Frenchman's long range strike is comfortably saved.
We are underway...
We are almost ready to go. Who honestly fancies West Brom? The last Premier League team to come to the Bridge went away with an 8-0 defeat, but Di Matteo seems to have put out a reasonably adventurous 4-2-3-1 formation...
And West Brom: Carson; Jara, Ibanez, Tamas, Marek Cech; Thomas, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Brunt, Morrison; Bednar. Subs: Myhill, Olsson, Barnes, Miller, Steven Reid, Shorey, Cox.
The teams are in, and here they are — Chelsea: Cech; Ferreira, Terry, Alex, Cole; Mikel; Essien, Lampard; Anelka, Drogba, Malouda. Subs: Hilario, Ivanovic, Benayoun, Zhirkov, Kalou, Sturridge, Van Aanholt.
Come one, come all... the Premier League is back under way! My name is Alex Dimond, and I'll be taking you through Goal.com's live commentary of today's evening game. Our venue is Stamford Bridge, for our first look at the reigning champions Chelsea as they take on newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion. The question I never thought I'd write: can Chelsea possibly knock Blackpool off the top of the table tonight?
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed