A dominant second-half display secured Chelsea a comfortable win over Crystal Palace to get their Premier League campaign back on track.
Chelsea stormed to a 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace in Saturday’s London derby to end a two-match winless run in the Premier League and grab all three points at Stamford Bridge for the first time this season.
Things didn’t look that way in the first-half, though, amid a rather sluggish performance. The Blues had trouble in the final third, with new signings Timo Werner and Kai Havertz not quite clicking yet with the squad.
The Palace defense, meanwhile, was resolute and more than up to the challenge of keeping their opponents at bay. However, they lacked any meaningful attacking threat upfront.
But the second-half proved to be a different tale as Ben Chilwell broke the deadlock with his first goal for Chelsea with a left-footed strike. Kurt Zouma’s header doubled the hosts’ advantage before two Jorginho penalties sealed victory.
Hudson-Odoi made the line-up – what next?
Just when it seemed Bayern Munich may finally get their man, Callum Hudson-Odoi made the line-up for Chelsea. It was the winger’s first start of the Premier League campaign. But was it a show of faith on Frank Lampard’s behalf? Or did the club have an ulterior motive?
The 19-year-old didn’t have a lot to contribute towards in the first-half, but played a part in Chilwell’s 50th-minute opener. He even laid out an opportunity for Tammy Abraham to score late in the match.
It wasn’t Hudson-Odoi’s most noteworthy performance, but it may give Chelsea more food for thought on their long-term plans for the youngster.
Chilwell’s dream debut
Ben Chilwell’s Premier League debut for Chelsea:
100% aerial duels won
82% pass accuracy
Brilliant performance. pic.twitter.com/rcCo65zPd8
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) October 3, 2020
A goal and an assist is not a bad way to cap off your Premier League debut for a new club, right?
While Werner and Havertz still need time to adapt to the squad, Chilwell has enjoyed a smooth transition. He started in his left-back role and finished as arguably the best player in the match itself.
Injury may have delayed his debut, but the €50.2m man is already proving his money’s worth for Lampard and co.
Mendy starts ahead of birthday boy Kepa in new-look defense
Kepa Arrizabalaga may be celebrating his 26th birthday, but Lampard showed no mercy. The Spaniard instead settled for a bench spot as the club’s €24m signing Edouard Mendy started for the second game in succession.
The Senegal international didn’t have much to do during the game thanks to a lack of attacking threat from Palace. But a clean sheet with no errors is still a fine league debut all the same. Therefore, Kepa will need to step up after the international break to reclaim his spot in goal.
Thiago Silva, on the other hand, delivered a more composed and focused display after his West Brom nightmare. While Chilwell was arguably the best player on the pitch, scoring his first Blues goal in his 100th Premier League match.
Are Chelsea finally ready to rumble?
The Blues defense looks in better shape than it has done for quite some time now. Although it’s yet to face a proper challenge, with Palace notably struggling to pose any real threat upfront. Hence, it’s still a tad too early to judge it.
The 4-0 win, though, will ease the pressure off Lampard ahead of the international break. The Chelsea boss accepts he needs to deliver after investing over €200m on new signings to revamp the squad.
One win in the first three Premier League games wasn’t ideal, but the Palace victory suggests Lampard may be on the right track. The squad itself still needs time to adjust, with likes of Hakim Ziyech still to debut. But the result on Saturday will be a tremendous boost for the Englishman.
In fact, there were only three players in the line-up at Stamford Bridge that played in Chelsea’s FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal in August.