Premier League: Crystal Palace vs Chelsea 19/2/22 – Full Match Report

Hakim Ziyech wins it in the dying minutes as Chelsea steal three points from the mouth of the Eagles.


Written by Ryan Bellenie (@BellenieSport).


Pre-game:

After being crowned World Champions in Abu Dhabi last week, Chelsea looked to defend their title against Crystal Palace – in their first league match in nearly a month.


The Blues completed their trophy cabinet last Saturday against Palmeiras, with Kai Havertz the hero in extra-time. The victory also marked a milestone for captain César Azpilicueta – who has now won everything there is to win with the London club.


Before heading over to the Middle East, Chelsea edged past League One Plymouth in the FA Cup following another winner in extra-time. Despite beating Tottenham in their last league game, the Blues have struggled domestically so looked to set the record straight against the team they beat on the opening day of the season.


With revenge in their sights, Patrick Vieira made four changes to the Palace starting eleven – which saw Conor Gallagher ineligible to play against his parent club.


Thomas Tuchel also made four changes to the team that won the Club World Cup last weekend. Notably, César Azpilicueta, Mason Mount and Timo Werner joined Reece James and Ben Chilwell on the sidelines.

First Half:

There were chances for both sides in the opening 10 minutes of the game.


Firstly, Palace’s Michael Olise came close as he fizzed a shot just wide of the post. This resulted in an almost immediate response from Antonio Rüdiger, who brought the best out of Vicente Guaita with his long-distance effort.


On the 20th minute, the Blues unlocked Palace’s defence with the chance perhaps falling to the wrong man in N’Golo Kanté. The Frenchman was in a one-on-one with Guaita, who closed down the midfielder to keep the game goalless.


From here the game almost dried up for 15 or so minutes, with neither side able to make any advances. Malang Sarr fired a shot wide and the hosts applied pressure through a flurry of corners, but the best chance of the half fell to Wilfried Zaha on the cusp of half-time.


The Palace attacker was slotted in on goal with just Mendy to beat. However, the chance fell for Zaha from a relatively tight angle – with the Eagles star unable to convert.

Second Half:

Patrick Vieria was forced into making a change at half-time, with Jack Butland forced into replacing Vicente Guaita in the Palace goal.


Despite the change, the hosts looked bright and remained persistent in giving Chelsea something to think about.


Up until the hour mark, it seemed that Tuchel’s side were falling out of the game. The closest the visitors came to a goal was back-to-back efforts from Hakim Ziyech – with both attempts being blocked.


As the game rolled on to the 74th minute, Tuchel made a triple-change, hoping to inject some energy into the game. The decision nearly caused an immediate impact, with Hakim Ziyech’s tap-in goal disallowed for offside in the build-up.


There were later half-chances at either end, but the Blues went on to regain their lead in the 89th minute as Marcos Alonso’s cross found Hakim Ziyech at the back post. The Moroccan repeated history from 15 minutes prior, capitalising on Tyrick Mitchell’s misjudgement.

The hosts had an opportunity to equalise through Zaha, who saw his low-driven attempt skim just wide.


Albeit alongside a couple of yellow cards, Chelsea held on through stoppage time to see out an important victory in south London.

After the Whistle:

As often said this season, Chelsea looked flat and short of creativity for large spells for the game – with Romelu Lukaku given very little to work with. The game could have easily swung either way at Selhurst Park, but Tuchel’s side did just enough to edge past their London rivals.


With a European clash on the cards in midweek, the Blues will hope to build on yesterday’s win before facing Liverpool in next week’s Carabao Cup final.


Palace on the other hand will look to respond on Wednesday, as they face 18th placed Watford at Vicarage Road.


Final Score:

Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea.

- Ziyech (89’).


BBC Sports Player of the Match:

Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea).


Line-ups:

Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1): Guaita (45’); Clyne, Andersen, Guéhi, Mitchell; Kouyaté, McArthur (90+2’); Ayew (85’), Olise, Schlupp; Zaha.

- Subs: Butland (45’), Eze (85’), Mateta (90+2’).


Chelsea (4-3-3): Mendy; Christensen, Silva, Rüdiger, Sarr (74’); Kanté (74’), Jorginho (74’), Pulisic; Ziyech, Lukaku, Havertz.

- Subs: Alonso (74’), Kovačić (74’), Loftus-Cheek (74’).


Referee:

David Coote.


Attendance:

25,109.


Possession:

Chelsea (42%) vs Crystal Palace (58%).


Shots:

Chelsea (7) vs Crystal Palace (9).


Shots on Target:

Chelsea (0) vs Crystal Palace (3).


Corners:

Chelsea (4) vs Crystal Palace (4).


Fouls:

Chelsea (4) vs Crystal Palace (20).

- (credit | BBC Sport).


Match Highlights:

- (credit | Sky Sports Football).

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