Date: 10th March 2018 at 7:38pm
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These lesser London derbies are generally nervy affairs. Today though, had to be different. Chelsea`s league form coming into the game was atrocious. Four defeats in the last five games have seen the Blues plunge down the league.

From fighting for second place with United to chasing the coattails of Tottenham in fourth spot. With that crucial Champions League place still up for grabs, three points were essential.

An insipid performance against City needed a response from today`s starting XI. Antonio Conte chose to go 3-4-3 and thankfully playing Olivier Giroud, a real live striker. Possibly more importantly, N`golo Kante was back in midfield.

With crowd in full force Chelsea kicked off playing towards the Shed End. They need to begin the game with a positive intent and not allow Palace a chance to get a foothold in the game.

To be fair to them they looked brighter in the first five minutes than they did through the whole ninety at the Etihad. Right, that`s the last mention of that game. It was a frenetic start for both teams. The first real opportunity for Chelsea fell to Giroud, when he nearly diverted a Kante shot in from close range.

With Palace crowding the midfield and defence, when not in possession, the break though would require some patience. Make no mistake though, this side was playing with a different mentality, (just stopped myself).

With twenty minutes gone, Chelsea held the bulk of possession (56/44) and had had four shots, three of which were on target. The breakthrough came with 25 minutes gone, courtesy of Willian`s third speculative shot of the game. The shot from just outside the penalty area was low and to Hennessey`s right and went in off the post. Conte`s reaction was muted to say the least.

Chelsea supporters didn`t have to wait long for the second goal. A quick break followed by some swift passing across the front of the Palace box found Davide Zappacosta, bombing into the penalty area. His forceful cross was deflected and stumbled into the goal by the former Liverpool player, Martin Kelly, keen to give Chelsea a birthday present. Conte`s celebration amounted to one fist pump.

Palace were now floundering. Quite how some of the Palace defenders avoided yellow cards for the pounding they were giving Eden Hazard was incredible. With halftime beckoning Olivier Giroud had the opportunity to all but seal the game following a beautifully flowing move. He thought he had a simple tap-in from close range, but somehow the ball was deflected away from the goal via the backheel of James Tomkins.

Halftime Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace

Christian Benteke was taken off at the break and replaced by Chelsea`s nemesis Wilfried Zaha. It was Palace who began the half better. They almost pulled a goal back after a Zappacosta pass put Christensen under more pressure than he would have liked, his misplaced ball allowed Sorloth a shot which rebounded back off the post.

These were ominous signs for Chelsea. Willian was still pulling the strings for Chelsea offensively, his breakaway`s causing Palace countless problems. Another individual error, this time by Kante almost allowed the visitors a chance. The Frenchman was quick enough to sort out his own mess though. These errors will need to be ironed out by the time Chelsea arrive in Barcelona.

Olivier Giroud`s performance was a positive one for Conte and would give Alvaro Morata some food for thought. He was sadly destined to not score his first Premier League goal for Chelsea though, another effort by the Frenchman beat the keeper, but not the post. His frustration was amplified when his number was held up in the 70th minute and he was replaced by Morata.

What Chelsea didn`t need was a late Palace goal to heap the pressure on. Chelsea didn`t help themselves though as they continued with those misplaced defensive passes. As the petered out, proceedings heated up. A scuffle between Tomkins and Christensen escalated as Alonso got involved.

If the idea was to try an wind the Chelsea team up, it was a plan that was working. Next Tomkins ruffled Morata`s feathers and the two of them were carded. Morata has already seen a red card in similar circumstances this season, losing his cool against Norwich in the FA Cup. Having picked up the yellow, he stupidly applauded the referee. He got away with it. Stupid boy.

With Palace in the ascendancy they had a goal disallowed, unfortunately for them, for an alleged high boot on the diving Cahill. Chelsea got away with that one but were unable to stop one of their former youngsters getting a goal back.

Patrick van Aanholt fired in from close range, giving his side the chance of a draw. Something their second half performance probably deserved. Chelsea for all their good forward play in the first half were not clinical enough in front of goal and too slack with their defensive passing.

The Blues held out for a 2-1 win, but on Wednesday evening they are going to have do much better if they are to leave the Camp Nou with anything other than a defeat. But today, it was the three points that was the most crucial part of proceedings and that, they just about achieved.One game at a time.

 

11 Replies to “Not Vintage Chelsea But A Birthday Win Nonetheless”

  • 4 things from this game…

    1. Tibo is not really in a place to hold us to a contract ransom. I watch other keepers who are acclaimed world class and this guy is not close. If he does not sign, just sell already in the summer?

    2.I am very worried for Morata now. He is pretty much confirming my long standing doubt which I have always had that he cant be relied upon for the long haul. There is a reason he never won the complete trust of any coach at Madrid….

    3. While the stats for this match looks great from a chelsea perspective, but there is something lacking in this team and our play currently, I dont exactly know what it is maybe its confidence, but we will need some luck from the god of soccer midweek….

    4. AC still needs to develop

  • Too sloppy, too sloppy. Andreas Christensen is making too many mistakes lately. Were we to play Barcelona like this, we’d have been hammered to be honest. I really think Caballero should get the nod against Barça. How Thibaut is considered one of the best keepers in the game totally baffles me. Sell him already. He’s really awful. Hazard seemed as though he didn’t want to play. He looked dangerous on the ball but not the Hazard we’ve come to know and love. If only he had the hunger of Willian. And I think it’s clear which striker should start against Barça. Chance after chance and Morata makes me more sick every day. Come on, pick up a yellow card, applaud the referee and knock down the linesman’s flag. Real professional… and oh my God the Baka effect. Wednesday really doesn’t look good to be honest

  • We managed to scrap out a win we should have sealed a long time ago. Am I the only one who’s not happy with the team today despite winning? Maybe it’s cos Wednesday keeps knocking on the door

  • Conte should be very careful with his subs….. Playing bakayoko Pedro morata at the same time is not helping the team…. So please don’t ever do it again..it’s just good

  • its either there is a bug in the man of the match rating system or someone is monopolizing it by hacking or multiple votes with different accounts.
    For many many weeks now,it has not shown the true reflections of matches.
    Don’t tell me its real cos we have not heard any dissenting voice towards Willian performances for weeks now yet it keeps on repeating itself.
    the laughable thing there is that the man of the match winners are not really the top performers which underlines the fact that something is wrong somewhere.
    If the ratings represent true votes,then I can only surmise that this forum is filled with ra****s.
    The administrators have to look into this issue.
    Its now too niggling and annoying for it to be overlooked further.

  • its either there is a bug in the man of the match rating system or someone is monopolizing it by hacking or multiple votes with different accounts.
    For many many weeks now,it has not shown the true reflections of matches.
    Don’t tell me its real cos we have not heard any dissenting voice towards Willian performances for weeks now yet it keeps on repeating itself.
    the laughable thing there is that the man of the match winners are not really the top performers which underlines the fact that something is wrong somewhere.
    If the ratings represent true votes,then I can only surmise that this forum is filled with ra****s.
    The administrators have to look into this issue.
    Its now too niggling and annoying for it to be overlooked further.

  • Though we won, but the lack in full confidence and assuredness speaks in our play. Our defenders seem to be the most nervous these days. We can’t even sit back and defend these days as we are nervous wreck or mistake away from conceding a goal. This to me is a result of how our season has turned out and the inconsistent form we had been churning. The mistakes we made and the lack of assuredness we showed makes room for a percieved uncomfortable game on wednesday.

  • A game of two halves. In the first, we should have gone in at least three up, but in the second with Palace introducing Zaha on to the pitch, panic set in. Antonio Conte`s negative second half tactics, once again proved that we really do not have the personnel, professionalism and focus to defend a lead, hence recent results against Man Utd, Arsenal in both the league and cup, Barcelona and now the mighty Crystal Palace. Conte is losing a lot of support from hard core Chelsea fans with this stubborn negative approach and he will only have himself if he is gone in May. As for Giroud and Morata not being able to hit a barn door between them, Kenedy and Batshuyi both hit a brace each respectively at the weekend. Two more young players with enormous potential, joining a long line of players just thrown onto the scrapheap at Chelsea without being given a chance.

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