Diego Costa Chelsea Adrian West Ham Anthony Taylor
Diego Costa makes his case for the late tackle as Adrian lies on the ground in pain, Aug.15, 2016Reuters

Antonio Conte got his first win as Chelsea manager, but the Italian will know as long as Diego Costa is on the pitch, such victories, more often than not, will come with a tinge or three of controversy. The Spain international was the one to hit the winner, but only after he stayed on the pitch in controversial circumstances.

The game was in the balance at 1-0, thanks to Eden Hazard's penalty, when Diego Costa, already booked for talking back to the referee Anthony Taylor (no surprises there) went in for a challenge on the West Ham goalkeeper Adrian. The ball did not hit his foot, with the striker's studs landing on Adrian's calf with some force. As the West Ham fans at the away end cried out for a red card, Taylor decided not even to brandish a second yellow.

That decision would obviously make all the difference as West Ham, despite equalizing through James Collins in the 77th minute, fell to a Costa winner a minute from the 90, after the former Atletico Madrid man produced an expert finish off a pass from new signing Michy Batshuayi.

While the win for Chelsea was deserved, following their overall performance, which was feistier and more praise-worthy than that of West Ham, the three points should have never been is what West Ham and most of the Blues' title rivals will say and think after Costa was given a reprieve, yet again.

"Look, it's the first game of the season and we are already talking about those kind of decisions," West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said. "From our point of view we are not happy with that.

"I saw the tackle once again, and I don't think it was reckless. It was not a deliberate one. But it was late. Nine times out of 10, a challenge on a goalkeeper like this looks like a booking. Unfortunately this was the 10th time."

Bilic, though, was quick to also point out that West Ham did not deserve anything out of the game, after a sloppy performance. "I'm only disappointed with the way the goals were conceded," the Croatian added. "Chelsea deserved it.

"We were so close and thought that was it at 1-1 late on. But, to be honest, apart from the first 15 minutes, and the time we equalised, they were better than us. We didn't create many chances, we gave them a penalty. The second goal we had the ball totally in control, too, at our end of the park.

"They were much more aggressive, winning balls and second balls, and their front four were on fire. I'm not happy with the way we played. We can do much better."

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