Welcoming representatives of the same city at home, Chelsea had a good match in terms of score when winning 3-0 against Crystal Palace. This favorable prelude will be the spark of hope for the burning season of the Blues ahead, especially when they have just welcomed striker Lukaku a few days ago back to their headquarters.
- Time: 21h00, 14/8
- Location: Stamford Bridge
Chelsea: Alonso (27′), Pulisic (40′), Chalobah (58′)
Chelsea: Mendy, Chalobah, Christensen, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso, Pulisic, Werner, Mount.
Crystal Palace: Guaita, Ward, Kouyate, Guehi, Mitchell, Riedewald, McArthur, Schlupp, Ayew, Mateta, Zaha.
Before the match, unexpected news came when N’Golo Kante would miss Chelsea’s first Premier League appearance due to injury risks.
Starting the season with a mid-sized opponent in the same city gives Chelsea a big advantage in being able to win their first victory and equalize the score with Man Utd who just had a match not long ago. Although Lukaku is yet to join the team, his teammates can totally give the Belgian striker his first gift with a win.
As usual, Chelsea started with 3 defenders, the wings in this match will be Marcos Alonso and Azpilicueta. Up front, Werner will be chosen as the center, while Mount and Pulisic will support the bottom. Overall, this is a familiar Chelsea squad. The only difference is probably the position of Chalobah, the young central defender had an impressive performance in the friendly phase and was given a chance in this match.
On the side of Crystal Palace, a 4-3-3 formation was used with a notable attack including Ayew, Mateta and Zaha. Letting Chelsea win the last 7 matches against each other will be the moment Crystal Palace need to overcome if they want to create something special on this day.
The first minutes of the match took place with the initiative from Chelsea in pressing Crystal Palace’s squad. In the 3rd minute, Jorginho passed the ball smoothly for Werner to cross but the German striker did not control the ball well.
The ball was often moved to Marcos Alonso’s flank, while Werner struggled to move wide to support his teammates. From an open situation, Alonso had a cross from the left to Pulisic to hit the header but did not endanger goalkeeper Guaita.
However, pressing Chelsea’s opponents in the first 20 minutes did not bring much effect, when they were still quite stuck in breaking through Palace’s defence. The visitors are having a suitable strategy, while Chelsea’s crosses into the box are not enough damage.
But when all attacking options were rendered useless, Marcos Alonso’s left foot answered. In the 27th minute, a beautiful free kick from outside the box on the right wing of this defender made the Guaita goalkeeper and the Crystal Palace defense stand still looking at the ball into the net.
Even so, it did not help Chelsea become less deadlocked in finding solutions to Crystal Palace’s goal. The visitors’ midfield played very solid and tight, perhaps due to the influence of Patrick Vieira on the coaching bench.
However, from a wide attack, Azpilicueta coordinated with Mount on the right wing before the young midfielder stretched inward for Werner to finish. Goalkeeper Guaita was forced to push the ball out. The ball bounced off and Pulisic appeared at the right time, calmly cushioning the ball into the Palace net to make it 2-0 for Chelsea.
Before the first half ended, Werner missed an opportunity to increase the lead when he had a thick ball on the side of the net. The first 45 minutes ended with a score of 2-0 in favor of the home team.
At the start of the second half, Jorginho had a delicate ball into the Palace’s penalty area for Marcos Alonso to volley with his left foot and force a save in the far corner of goalkeeper Guaita.
Chelsea continued to put pressure on Palace’s goal, but their next moment of brilliance came from an unexpected person. In the 58th minute, young centre-back Chalobah shot from a distance like a man with his right foot, putting the ball straight into the far corner of the away team’s goal. The 26-year-old couldn’t hide his emotion after scoring, crying after scoring for the Blues. Chalobah scored this goal at 22 years and 40 days, becoming the second youngest player to score on his Chelsea debut, behind Paul Hughes in January 1997 (20 years and 274 days). This is a great moment for a player who has been with Chelsea since the age of eight.
Chelobah then had a great pass to Werner but the German striker was still fumbling with his tackle. Werner is still looking for a goal, but it seems quite difficult when both teams play slack. In the 67th minute, Azpilicueta left the field to make way for James.
In the last 10 minutes of the game, Havertz came on for Pulisic, Emerson also came on for Alonso, but the game was nothing more outstanding from both. Crystal Palace considered giving up the opening match because the gap was too big and the score 3-0 was kept until the end of the match. Thus, Chelsea’s opening day also ended successfully, and helped this team temporarily rise to second place in the Premier League rankings.
Timo Werner is ultimately still ungrateful with goals, and hopefully the arrival of Romelu Lukaku next week will change that. After all, Chelsea have the right to be proud of what they have done today, after a long time away from fans due to the epidemic, they have delivered a performance good enough to see the enthusiasm. This is also the first time Tuchel has felt surrounded by fans like this from Chelsea.
Sports No. 247
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