Chelsea expose lingering Crystal Palace flaws as Prem debutant continues dream week
Chelsea made a statement with a big 3-0 win over Crystal Palace in their opening fixture, in which Trevoh Chalobah continued a memorable week with his first Premier League goal.
As the new Premier League season got underway, both sides had reason for optimism. Chelsea are eyeing a title challenge after winning the Champions League and UEFA Super Cup either side of the summer. Palace, on the other hand, are at a new dawn with Patrick Vieira at the helm.
But it was the favourites for this tie who could keep their optimism by the end of the 90 minutes, as Chelsea proved just too good for Vieira’s recently inherited side.
Chelsea earned an early opening when Mason Mount played the ball to Timo Werner, who laid it off for Cesar Azpilicueta. However, the captain shot over the bar.
The Blues kept the pressure on, though, and Vicente Guaita was forced into his first save when stopping a header from Christian Pulisic. Soon after, there were further chances for Mateo Kovacic, who shot wide, and Mount, who had Guaita scurrying with a quick free kick.
Dominating possession, it was a set piece that led to Chelsea taking the lead. After 27 minutes, Marcos Alonso scored with a curling, left-footed free kick from wide on the right.
Things got even better for the hosts when Pulisic doubled their lead in the 40th minute. Guaita spilled a cross from Azpilicueta after over-stretching and Pulisic was there to pounce.
Alonso, continuing to be a threat, created another chance for Werner, whose shot went into the sidenetting to allow Palace a brief sigh of relief.
Palace were by far second best as Chelsea took a deserved two-goal lead into half-time.
Thomas Tuchel’s side started the second half in similar fashion. Alonso had a chance when volleying a Jorginho pass goalward. Guaita was equal to it, though.
Another chance came the left-back’s way with another free kick, but he didn’t score this time.
Palace, still without a shot on target, finally had some forward-thinking action as the hour-mark approached. However, Jeffrey Schlupp skied the ball.
Trevoh Chalobah caps off memorable week
Unsurprisingly by now, it was Chelsea who scored next. The player to make it 3-0 was ex-Lorient loanee Chalobah, just a few days after his full debut in the Super Cup.
Moving forward with the ball on his first Premier League appearance, he hit a sweet strike beyond the reach of Guaita, who got his fingertips to it but could not stop it going past him.
At the other end, Edouard Mendy finally faced a shot on target when comfortably catching a header from Jordan Ayew.
But there was no threat of a comeback from Palace, who will have to do better in the games ahead to show they are going in the right direction after a summer of change.
For Chelsea, though, things are definitely looking up – especially with Romelu Lukaku still to strengthen this side.
READ MORE: Pundit tips Lukaku, Chelsea to terrorise Arsenal star after Brentford display