Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace: Blues Keep UCL Hopes Alive With Crucial Win
Chelsea secured a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace to keep their UCL hopes alive. Conte’s men, unlike in their previous game, started off more positively with a higher tempo. Deservedly, they led through a sweet strike from Willian, which was his 5th goal in as many games. With almost 70% possession, 7 shots on target and another goal, the Champions were in total control in the first 45.
Olivier Giroud almost put the game to bed through an unselfish Eden Hazard layoff, only to be denied by James Tomkins on the goal line. He beat Hennessey on another occasion but struck the post. Eden Hazard, having returned to his favoured wing position, was denied by Hennessey’s foot. Former Blue Patrick Van Aanholt reduced the deficit by scoring in the 90th minute. However, to sum it up, Chelsea looked sharper, energetic and dominant.
Chelsea Player Ratings
Thibaut Courtois: 8/10
Apart from a grab off a Van Aanholt shot, Courtois was a mere spectator for obvious reasons. Another clean sheet to his name.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 8.5/10
Held a tight grip, barely allowed anyone to get past him, read the game almost perfectly as he always does and spent some time getting forward.
Andreas Christensen: 5/10
Another mistake by the Dane. He has been too soft in possession in recent games. Luckily for him, Sørloth only struck the crossbar.
Gary Cahill: 8/10
A polished performance by the captain. Cahill was composed at the back and cut his task out well.
Davidé Zappacosta: 9/10
Exploited the right flank, enjoyed getting forward and stretched the opposition defence. Zappacosta’s pace, trickery, willingness and delivery were all stunning. Willian played more of a central, threatening role, due to his presence.
Cesc Fabregas: 8/10
Fabregas lined up attractive passes and played a huge part in the second goal, as he freed up Alonso. His defensive work was top class too.
N’Golo Kante: 7.5/10
One poor pass in his own 18-yard box but apart from that, Kante was all over the place, spraying passes around and running his socks off.
Marcos Alonso: 8/10
Alonso enjoyed the dominance and played two massive key passes that should have been put away. Defensively, he kept a high shape and did a good job.
Absolutely supreme. Willian skipped past players, dazzled around with his footwork, showed some brilliant change of pace and carried the ball from defence to attack like no one else, proving how lethal he can be on the counter.
Eden Hazard: 8.5/10
Looked at his best since he returned to the left-wing role. Hazard dropped deeper, set players free, picked out the best of passes and linked up well with Fabregas and Willian.
Olivier Giroud: 8.5/10
A satisfactory display by the Frenchman. He was quite unlucky to not have scored, but Giroud’s first touch and layoffs were sublime and clever, especially when he set Hazard free on a couple of occasions. His work rate and aerial dominance were key aspects of Chelsea’s victory.
Alvaro Morata: 5/10
Needs to stop accumulating yellow cards for disciplinary issues.
Not much time to perform anything on the pitch.
Tiemoue Bakayoko: N/A
Came on in the dying stages of the game.