Chelsea went top of the Premier League as they came from behind to beat Leeds United in their first game in front of fans for nine months.
Former Blues striker Patrick Bamford, who spent five years at Chelsea without making a senior appearance, gave Leeds an early lead at Stamford Bridge after getting between defender Kurt Zouma and keeper Edouard Mendy.
Timo Werner then somehow managed to miss from point-blank range after Olivier Giroud’s flicked header from a corner, the Germany forward hitting the underside of the bar before Leeds cleared.
However, Giroud marked his first league start of the season with his fifth goal of the week, the scorer of all four of Chelsea’s Champions League goals away to Sevilla in midweek poking home from five yards after Reece James’ cross.
Chelsea, who welcomed 2,000 fans back to Stamford Bridge after coronavirus restrictions were eased, went ahead as Zouma headed in from Mason Mount’s corner before substitute Christian Pulisic added a late third.
Chelsea, who started the day third, are one point clear at the top.
Chelsea welcome fans back in style
There were jubilant scenes after the final whistle as Blues boss Frank Lampard went over to applaud fans inside the ground, who gave the players a standing ovation while they headed for the dressing room.
One supporter held up a banner which read “It’s great to be back” and Chelsea certainly relished the occasion as they turned on the style.
When they last moved to the summit after a win at Newcastle on 21 November, Lampard said he was not going to “get excited about being top for five minutes”.
Within a few hours they had been replaced by Tottenham following a win over Manchester City later the same day.
Lampard’s side will at least enjoy being top a while longer this time, although they could be overtaken by Tottenham and Liverpool on Sunday.
Nevertheless, this was a highly satisfactory victory.
While France’s World Cup winner Giroud made the most of his first league start of 2020-21, Werner will wonder how on earth he did not score.
After his astonishing miss, Werner was thwarted on three occasions by Leeds keeper Illan Meslier, while Kai Havertz headed another chance over.
Unbeaten in nine top-flight games, Chelsea are handling the hectic Champions League-Premier League schedule well.
After securing top spot in their European group, Lampard’s men are looking down on all the rest in England.