Chelsea returned to winning ways in the 2020-21 Premier League with a commanding 4-1 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Christian Pulisic scored a brace, while Kai Havertz and Kurt Zouma netted one apiece.
The Blues put the game to bed by netting thrice inside the opening half-hour. It was their biggest win yet under Thomas Tuchel, who deployed Christian Pulisic as an inside forward and Havertz down the firing line.
With the win, Chelsea are back in the top four of the Premier League following after producing one of their most fluent attacking displays under Tuchel.
On that note, let’s have a look at the ratings of Chelsea players in the game.
Edouard Mendy – 7/10
With hardly any touches made by Palace in the Chelsea box, let alone shots on goal, Chelsea custodian Edouard Mendy enjoyed a comfortable evening. However, he could have done little to keep out Benteke.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 8.5/10
Chelsea’s Mr Reliable marshalled the side imperiously. Cesar Azpilicueta moved into half-spaces whenever the system demanded an extra man up front. When Roy Hodgson’s side managed to string a few passes together, Azpilicueta was there to close down on Zaha and snuff out danger inside the Chelsea penalty area.
Kurt Zouma – 9/10
Kurt Zouma was stern and solid at the heart of Chelsea’s three-man backline. Replacing Andreas Christensen, who has emerged as one of Tuchel’s untouchables, the Frenchman put his body on the line at everything and ensured Chelsea’s plain sailing.
Zouma also towered over the opposition defence to score a bullet header, making him the most prolific scoring centre-back in the Premier League this season.
Antonio Rudiger – 8/10
Antonio Rudiger almost played as an extra left midfielder, such was Chelsea’s dominance and intent against an out-of-sorts Crystal Palace side. Rudiger was all over the home team’s players before they could create any counter-attacking opportunity.
Callum Hudson-Odoi – 7/10
Crystal Palace’s 4-4-2 set-up meant Mason Mount and Havertz had space to work with. That allowed Callum Hudson-Odoi to overlap and wriggle through the left side of the Eagles’ defense.
He set up Havertz’s goal with an accurate ball, but there could have been a lot more precision, as he was often freed up by his teammates.
Jorginho – 9/10
It was a fabulous outing from Jorginho from last weekend’s horror show. The midfielder choked Zaha for space and distributed passes across the pitch. Jorginho had more touches than Crystal Palace’s front four in the opening 45 minutes. The timing of his passes and his composure and accuracy were spotless on the night.
Mateo Kovacic – 8/10
Mateo Kovacic was safe as a house in midfield, imposing his influence on the game with his craft and dribbling prowess. Defensively, he was aware and sound. Most impressively, his partnership with Jorginho in the middle was the reason why Chelsea kept their opponents out of the equation for large swathes of the game.
Ben Chilwell – 7/10
Ben Chilwell marauded forward with purpose and put in some delightful balls into the box. He was on top of his game, running beyond the most advanced Chelsea players at times.
Mason Mount – 8/10
Mason Mount laid on a stellar pass to Kurt Zouma for Chelsea’s third goal. Throughout the game, the midfielder linked up with Callum Hudson-Odoi well and always found half-spaces for his team in the channels.
Christian Pulisic – 9/10
Christian Pulisic is not expected to run the races down the wings in a 3-4-2-1 set-up. But his movement and runs into the box were exemplary on the night. The USA international got into the six-yard area for Chelsea’s very first chance of the game, forcing Vicente Guaita to make a fine save.
Pulisic then got on to the end of a wonderful link-up between Ben Chilwell and Havertz. He drilled a ferocious strike past the Palace goalkeeper to double his team’s lead less than two minutes after Havertz’s strike. He then put the chances of a potential comeback from Crystal Palace to bed with a well-taken second goal at the far post.
All of a sudden, after a tumultuous period blighted by injuries, Pulisic has netted three goals in his last two Premier League games for Chelsea.
Kai Havertz – 9.5/10
Kai Havertz has well and truly arrived. The German’s first-touch, slick movement and finishing proved why Chelsea forked out a large sum of money for him.
The ease with which he went about his business was aesthetically pleasing. In a devastating spell where Chelsea netted two quick-fire goals, Havertz pickpocketed his marker, received a pass back and then placed the ball to perfection into the back of the net.
Another great run led to Pulisic’s goal. For the rest of the game, Havertz’s runs and intelligence meant the Eagles could barely touch him.
Ratings of Chelsea Substitutes
N’Golo Kante – 7/10
N’Golo Kante was subbed on for Jorginho at the hour-mark, perhaps in a tactical move by Tuchel, with the Champions League second leg against FC Porto in mind. He covered every blade of grass and added fresh legs in the game for Chelsea.
Reece James – 7.5/10
Reece James sprung forward with purpose after coming on, exploiting the acres of space left behind by Crystal Palace. He set up the fourth goal for his side to cap off a sensational display.
Hakim Ziyech – N/A
Hakim Ziyech came on after the 80th minute and almost bagged an assist with a sumptuous through ball to Kai Havertz.