Crystal Palace vs Chelsea: The Blues battled to the very end to snatch a 1-0 victory and all three points against the Eagles at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
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Hakim Ziyech turned home Marcos Alonso’s cross after 89 hugely frustrating minutes. Ziyech had an earlier goal taken away for offside by video review.
The victory pushes Chelsea seven points clear of 4th-place Manchester United in the Premier League table. Crystal Palace, meanwhile, remain 13th.
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea final score, stats, results
Final score: Crystal Palace 0, Chelsea 1
Goal scorers: Crystal Palace (None), Chelsea (Ziyech 89′)
Shots: Crystal Palace 7, Chelsea 9
Shots on target: Crystal Palace 0, Chelsea 3
Possession: Crystal Palace 42%, Chelsea 58%
3 things we learned – Crystal Palace vs Chelsea
1. Lukaku, Chelsea an incompatible match: Romelu Lukaku’s first spell at Chelsea can easily be written off as a player being too young to arrive into one of football’s most chaotic clubs and find success through all the surrounding noise. Lukaku’s second spell at Chelsea appears much the same, as Thomas Tuchel deploys a tactical system which isn’t suited to the $135-million striker, who in turn looks beyond miserable in his present predicament. Here’s a very real stat: Lukaku touched the ball twice — two times — in the first half of Saturday’s game, and one of the two started the game in the center circle with 0:00 on the clock. In 45 minutes, Lukaku touched the ball once during open play, in the 5th minute, meaning he went 43 minutes between touches of the ball (he finished his 90-minute shift with 7 touches). Everyone appears to be at fault in this costly mistake of a transfer, with a swift resolution likely in the summer.
2. It’s not all Lukaku’s fault, despite what you heard: There are plenty of other problems with this Chelsea side, and only some of them are down to Tuchel’s rigid tactics. Aside from Mason Mount, who missed Saturday’s game due to injury, there’s not a reliable ball progressor to link the midfield to forward line (see, above: everything regarding Lukaku), and that’s a crippling deficiency for a side expecting to compete for trophies on all fronts. In theory, Christian Pulisic, who started on the left wing and drifted centrally quite a bit in the first half, could serve the role, but it’s the pass after the forward progression which often frustrates from him. When the wing back/wide midfielders are serving up unmissable chances, Tuchel’s 3-4-3 runs like a well-oiled machine, but when they’re not, it gets really clunky really quickly.
3. Frustration for Vieira, Eagles: Crystal Palace still await their first win since the calendar turned over to 2022. That’s 0W-3D-3L beginning on New Year’s Day, though they’ve been a goal away from turning a defeat into draw, or draw into victory, in all but one of the six.
Man of the Match: Hakim Ziyech – It was a poor game, on the whole, and Ziyech happened to score the only goal. He was also a rare, consistent threat in the final third throughout the game.