Chelsea emerged victorious in an end-to-end battle between two of the country's capital clubs here on Tuesday evening. It was a thoroughly enjoyable match for the neutrals as both clubs played some brilliant football, and scored some great goals. There wasn't much defense on offer from either side, which meant both clubs flexed their offensive muscles to good effect.
Crystal Palace would consider themselves unlucky to have spurned two big chances in stoppage time to get a priceless equalizer, but it just wasn't to be. Chelsea just about merited the vital three points that they came away with, and now find themselves one step closer to Europe. However, Frank Lampard knows that the Blues will have to be much more resolute defensively in order to not slip-up in the coming days, as both the 3rd and 4th spots are still very much up for grabs.
Chelsea Player Ratings
Kepa Arrizabalaga - 5/10
Once again, fingers will be pointed at Chelsea's much scrutinized goalkeeper for the way he let in Zaha's long-range effort. It was viciously hit by the Ivorian, and although it wouldn't have been an easy save to make, it is one you expect top level keepers to make nonetheless. There was little else to do apart from that, and he did it well enough to warrant a 5 out of 10.
Reece James - 7/10
The 20 year old had a very underwhelming first half, where he failed to get forward with the authority he is known for. Defensively, he had to deal with Palace's best player in Wilfried Zaha, and although it'll be wrong to say that he completely shut him out, he did well enough to keep him in check. After all, Zaha's goal came when he was attacking through the opposite flank, and not his. He made 3 tackles, 3 clearances and 2 interceptions. The cross to find Giroud in the second half was his highlight of the day.
Kurt Zouma - 7/10
Zouma was an extremely important part of Chelsea's defense, because it was his pace and strength that nullified Palace's early balls over the top. He went up for a lot of aerial duels, and won a majority of them. His passing was secure as well, and deservedly saw a lot of the ball as Chelsea looked to build-up from the back. A match-saving tackle to deny Benteke right at the end was the icing on the cake.
Andreas Christensen - 6/10
Like his partner Zouma, Christensen too had to contest a number of aerial duels, but the Danish centre-back was nowhere near as successful as the Frenchman, winning only 38% of them. Didn't make any tackles, but 4 interceptions make for good reading. Allowed an out-of-form Benteke one too many touches in dangerous positions. He has had better days.
Cesar Azpilicueta - 7/10
The Spaniard once again showed his versatility for Chelsea, playing as a left-sided full-back and enjoying what was a very decent outing at Selhurst Park. Azpilicueta was a defensive anchor from left-back, winning 100% of his 5 tackles, whilst also making 6 clearances to ensure Chelsea held on to the 3 points. He worked very hard as he always does, and it's tough to see Chelsea winning today's game in the absence of their legendary defender.
Billy Gilmour - 6/10
A much better performance than the last time he started. The Scottish youngster who just turned 19 less than a month ago, kept things simple this time around, and didn't make any unnecessary passes. He kept the football ticking, looking composed despite the sometimes intense Palace press. He ended the game with a handsome 91% passing accuracy, and 3 tackles as well. A super talent.
Ross Barkley - 6/10
One excellent cross-field through ball in the second half was perhaps the only highlight from the Englishman's performance today. He didn't have a bad game by any means, and was a part of some of the good things Chelsea did throughout the match. He worked hard, and played the odd pass around - letting his teammates do the talking. Subbed off just past the hour mark.
Mason Mount - 7/10
Probably the first name on Lampard's team-sheet, Mason Mount put in another industrious performance without scoring or assisting. The youngster was stable throughout, and exciting at times. He drove the ball forward with confidence, and like his countryman Barkley, was happy to give it to the front 3 to proceed with their job.
Christian Pulisic - 8/10
Christian Pulisic is on fire. He is in the best phase of his Chelsea career by far, and he seems to be enjoying it. The American is brimming with new-found confidence, and is willingly taking on players, beating them, and scoring gloriously. His passing has remained underrated for a while now, and he proved that once more by making 3 key passes in the match. Was dispossessed a number of times, which is the only negative to take from this individual performance.
Willian - 9/10
What a loss it will be if Chelsea lose him for nothing this summer! Willian Borges is playing some of the best football in his career and it doesn't seem like he will stop any time soon. It was another fruitful evening for the Brazilian, who added two more assists to his season tally. He was central to Chelsea's attack, passing with an 81% accuracy. He also made 5 key passes in the match, more than anybody else. As usual, his work-rate was vital towards the end as Crystal Palace pushed for an equalizer. A joy to watch when in-form.
Olivier Giroud - 7/10
Giroud has been in great goal-scoring touch since the resumption post lockdown, and he added another one to his personal tally by opening the scoring rather fortuitously. Gary Cahill was erased from the equation when the veteran suffered a hamstring injury amidst the action, leaving his defense wide open for Giroud to cash in. The Frenchman could have, and should have scored at least another as the Palace defenders failed to deal with crosses delivered into the box targeted at him.
Tammy Abraham - 7/10
After a long, long wait, Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham put an end to his 10-match goal-drought by converting a well taken strike, which ultimately proved to be the winner. He now has 16 goals across all competitions this season. He needed that goal, and will hope it helps him kick-on.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek - 6/10
A man who deserves to be in the starting line-up. It is understandable that Frank Lampard is taking it easy since the English midfielder is coming back from a long sabbatical due to injury. Completed all 20 of his passes.
Jorginho - 6/10
A man clearly not in Chelsea manager Lampard's plans, given that a 19 year old is now preferred to him. Still a fine footballer, and helped his team out with an important 15 minute cameo. Completed 90% of his passes and made 2 tackles.
Also read: Crystal Palace 2-3 Chelsea: 5 Talking PointsPublished 08 Jul 2020, 02:46 IST