Chelsea 4-0 Crystal Palace
Chilwell(50), Zouma(66), Jorginho (pen) (78,82)
Chelsea bagged their first home win of the season in style as Ben Chilwell produced an inspirational display on his league debut to defeat Crystal Palace by four goals.
The win saw newly arrived Edouard Mendy and Ben Chilwell make their Premier League debuts for The Blues, while birthday boy Kepa Arrizabalaga watched on from the stands. Lampard’s squad was boosted by the return of Christian Pulisic on the bench after injury, the American coming on for Callum Hudson-Odoi with 84 minutes gone. There was tension built between the two sides even before the match began as Chelsea players trotted out on the Stamford Bridge turf and were kept waiting for at least two minutes by their opponents.
Chelsea started the game on the front foot and dominated possession for much of the first half against a well set-up Palace side who kept the door shut and frustrated the hosts. Timo Werner and Kai Havertz linked up for a decent chance but the former couldn’t pull the trigger. Aside from that, Werner was struggling to get on the ball and he kept pushing wide because The Eagles weren’t allowing him to make his trademark runs-in behind. Tammy Abraham beautifully took a long ball from Jorginho into his stride only for Vicente Guaita to keep it out of his net.
Palace didn’t really threaten Chelsea’s defence in the first half with Edouard Mendy being a mere spectator for large parts. Apart from that, Chelsea were finding it difficult to break down the resolute Palace backline as they approached half-time. Palace were largely relying on the pace that Eberechi Eze, Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend give them on the counter.
As Frank Lampard eluded to in his post-match interview, Chelsea were dominant in possession during the entirety of the first half, but needed to mix it up to nick a goal. The second half was a by-product of incredible individual displays coupled with a great team performance as Chelsea tore Palace apart. On 50 minutes, Palace defender Mamadou Sakho failed a clear in a ball at the edge of his box which led to Ben Chilwell’s opener as the England right-back smashed the ball into the net to give Chelsea the lead. It may have been scruffy but Chelsea would’ve taken it all day long.
The hosts gained confidence from the opener and were pushing for another to seal it. Not long after the opener, Kurt Zouma jumped highest at the end of a Ben Chilwell cross and guided it past Guaita to give his side a two-goal cushion. Frank Lampard would’ve breathed a huge sigh of relief because Chelsea have looked vulnerable defensively after being ahead in games previously. It was all Chelsea from that moment on. Palace didn’t have a plan or structure going forward and weren’t helped defensively by Sakho, who put in perhaps his worst performance for the club.
After 78 minutes, Tammy Abraham was brought down by fellow Englishman Tyrick Mitchell inside the Palace box; up stepped Jorginho to coolly slot it past Guaita to make it three for Lampard’s men. Kai Havertz had failed to make a major impact on the game but was clumsily tackled by Mamadou Sakho at 82 minutes to give Chelsea a chance to make it four. After a dispute between regular penalty taker Jorginho and forward Tammy Abraham was dealt with by club captain Cezar Azpilicueta, Jorginho stepped up again to make it four and Chelsea were running rampant. There were brief cameos for Christian Pulisic and Mateo Kovacic late on as Chelsea put in a convincing team display to knock high-flying Crystal Palace off their perch.
It may not have been the best performance from his side, especially in the first half, but Frank Lampard can take a bunch of positives from this result. With the next fixture (at home against Southampton) coming only after the international break, Lampard will be hoping to finally have Hakim Ziyech available for selection. The concerns surrounding the defence are bound to take a backseat after a solid display from the back four and Lampard would wish he can finally decide on a set backline after chopping and changing quite a lot early doors.