Chelsea newboy Chilwell stars with 8/10 in Palace win
Chelsea got back on track in the Premier League on Saturday with a resounding 4-0 win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge. The favourites came flying out of the gate after a goalless first half with Ben Chilwell opening the scoring before Kurt Zouma’s header and two Jorginho penalties sealed the deal for Lampard’s men.
When their high line and quick movement on the ball didn’t bring them much success in the first half, the Blues mixed things up and had a slower, more structured approach to proceedings in the second — and that switch paid off. There was an attacking urgency that we’re used to seeing from this Chelsea side but the real headline will be their improved defensive performance.
It took the hosts far too long to find their killer instinct and against a more aggressive opponent they would have been punished for it. As the game went on they allowed Palace more time on the ball which slowed their tempo right down and, on occasion, there appeared to be some frustration regarding the formation and where the likes of N’Golo Kante and Timo Werner were supposed to be.
8 — The body language is rarely positive from Frank Lampard on the touchline but in terms of his decision making, he is beginning to improve and grow as a top flight manager. He hesitated in making changes and maintained his trust in the starting XI he put out on the pitch, and that steady trigger finger ensured that Chelsea’s flow wasn’t interrupted.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Edouard Mendy, 7 — The new keeper was a spectator for large portions of the game but between a few nice blocks and some solid distribution, it was a decent showing.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 7 — Having a veteran’s presence is always key to steadying the ship, although the Spaniard was fortunate not to be punished much earlier on for his numerous challenges on Eberechi Eze. He played a key part as captain in diffusing a possible bust up between Jorginho and Tammy Abraham over the second penalty.
DF Thiago Silva, 8 — Held the line magnificently at the back courtesy of some great awareness and he made a string of important blocks throughout the afternoon.
DF Kurt Zouma, 8 — It was another fantastic day at the office for the confident centre-back who added to a handful of interceptions and clearances with a lovely header for the second goal.
DF Ben Chilwell, 8 — The former Leicester man’s commitment going forward led to some masterful set pieces and crosses. He picked up a goal and an assist in what was a fine showing.
MF N’Golo Kante, 7 — Kept fighting for long periods and while it wasn’t his most polished performance, it was still a strong outing from the World Cup winner.
MF Jorginho, 8 — The key to many of Chelsea’s attacks, Jorginho was rewarded for his persistence with two goals from the penalty spot — both of which he put away coolly.
FW Callum Hudson-Odoi, 7 — Struggled with his end product but grew in confidence late in the game and, thanks to his positional play, he played a small yet significant role in the first two goals.
AM Kai Havertz, 7 — He exploited open spaces through the midfield well and was smart in how he won the penalty, but Havertz is clearly still settling into life in the Premier League.
FW Timo Werner, 6 — Worked hard under difficult circumstances out wide but struggled to create the opportunities he needs to thrive as he was played wider.
ST Tammy Abraham, 6 — Abraham’s highlights included keeping the ball alive for the opener, winning one of the penalties and being upset about not being able to take the other.
MF Mateo Kovacic, N/R — Helped to see out the game with a composed cameo in the middle of the park.
MF Christian Pulisic, N/R — Wasn’t given enough time to make an impact but will still be a welcome sight for Chelsea fans after his recent injury woes.