Football Features

“Their left-back problem is solved” – Full player ratings as Chelsea breeze past Crystal Palace

By Harry Edwards

Published: 14:57, 3 October 2020

Chelsea returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.

The Blues had failed to win their past two league games and were frustrated in the first half by a Palace side happy to soak up the pressure.

But Ben Chilwell opened the scoring, and the floodgates, shortly after half-time, with Kurt Zouma and a penalty brace from Jorginho adding to the left-back’s strike.

Here’s how the players rated at Stamford Bridge:

Chelsea

Edouard Mendy – 6 – The Senegalese goalkeeper really couldn’t have asked for an easier Premier League debut. Had very little to do but looked comfortable in everything he did.

Cesar Azpilicueta – 7 – It was an interesting decision to see Azpilicueta in the line up over Reece James, but the Chelsea captain performed pretty well against Eze. His leadership also came into play regarding the second penalty, stopping any disagreements between Jorginho and Abraham from escalating.

Thiago Silva – 7 – A solid performance from the Brazilian who looked strong after his disastrous debut last weekend. Tired late on but did not let it affect his game.

Kurt Zouma – 9 – In a word, Zouma was marvellous. Solid at the back, the Frenchman barely let anything get past him, and looks to be Chelsea’s best centre-back. He was also very dangerous in attack, getting onto the end of set pieces and got the goal his performance deserved with a strong header.

Ben Chilwell – 9 – Chelsea’s left-back problem has been solved. In Chilwell they have someone who can both defend and attack on the left, in his natural position, and the Englishman had a wonderful Premier League debut for the club. He was constantly testing Crystal Palace’s defence with his runs, crosses and set pieces, setting up Zouma’s goal. But, more importantly, he opened the scoring with a lovely finish from inside the area, settling any nerves from a tough first half.

N’Golo Kante – 8 – It’s hard to believe Chelsea were thinking of selling Kante at some point over the summer, as the Frenchman put in what can only be described as his trademark performance. He was everywhere in defence and attack, the perfect shield for Chelsea’s defence. But his game may have been dampened by injury worries late on.

Jorginho – 7 – Alongside Kante, Jorginho was solid in front of the defence, keeping things tidy at the back. He was also constantly looking to breach Palace’s back line with a number of testing passes to Abraham, but it was just missing that final touch. Polished off the win with two penalties, recovering from his miss against Liverpool two weeks ago.

Callum Hudson-Odoi – 8 – While Hudson-Odoi was playing on Saturday, quotes emerged from Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick, confirming their interest in the winger. He dubbed the Englishman as “one of the best talents in his position,” and that was on full display against Palace. He didn’t get a goal or assist but Hudson-Odoi was excellent in both defence and attack.

Kai Havertz – 7 – Playing in his natural, central, position, Havertz had arguably his best performance for Chelsea so far. There were a couple of driving runs in the first half, including one to set up a shot for Werner. He played his part defensively too and though his influence did drop after half-time, Havertz can look positively on his game.

Timo Werner – 5 – The one negative of Chelsea’s’ game. Werner was played out on the wing again and although he did have Chelsea’s first real chance, the German was quiet through. He wasn’t bad, he just wasn’t there enough.

Tammy Abraham – 6 – Through the middle, Abraham had his chances to get on the scoresheet both aerially and on the ground, but he just couldn’t find that killer touch. Won the first penalty with neat footwork and clearly wanted to take the spot-kick, but seniority won out.

Substitutes:

Christian Pulisic (for Hudson-Odoi 83) – N/A – A late sub, returning on injury.

Mateo Kovacic (for Kante 83) – N/A – A late sub.

Crystal Palace

Vicente Guaita – 5 – Like Mendy, Guaita didn’t have too much to do save an early stop on Werner. But he shipped four goals, including being wrong-footed twice by Jorginho.

Joel Ward – 6 – The busier of the two Palace full-backs, with Chelsea choosing to attack down his wing, but the did a fairly good job. Although a lot of his work was defence, Ward was seen in and around the Chelsea area at times.

Cheikhou Kouyate – 7 – Palace may have lost 4-0 but Kouyate can look back on his performance with pride. In the first half he was practically glued to Abraham, perfectly marking the Englishman, and continued to keep the striker quiet after half-time.

Mamadou Sakho – 4 – It was going so well for Sakho in the first half as he looked solid alongside Kouyate. But then things fell apart. First he messed up a clearance inside his own area in the build up to Chilwell’s opener and then brought Havertz down for Chelsea’s second penalty.

Tyrick Mitchell – 6 – The 21-year-old had a decent afternoon but eventually came unstuck, with Hudson-Odoi enjoying his time against Mitchell. He then fouled Abraham for Chelsea’s first penalty, perhaps showing signs of inexperience.

Andros Townsend – 4 – His main job would have been to sit back and help Ward defend, while keeping open for the counter attack, but he just didn’t do it. Left Ward with far too much to do.

James McCarthy – 7 – While he was on the pitch, McCarthy combined well with McArthur to make a solid midfield wall, sitting in front of the Palace defence. But as the gameplan needed to change, he was taken off.

James McArthur – 7 – For McArthur, see McCarthy. Another good performance from one of Palace’s unsung hero, helping to frustrate Chelsea for large parts before being taken off.

Eberechi Eze – 7 – The summer signing was Palace’s best attacking player and it wasn’t really a contest. Most of their dangerous moments going forward (though there weren’t many) came through Eze, but he did not shy away from doing his defensive duty too.

Jordan Ayew – 6 – Ayew was the more defensive of the two Palace forwards, focusing more on preventing Chelsea from building out from the back. And he did his job fairly well.

Wilfried Zaha – 4 – A poor performance from the Ivorian when Palace really needed him to step up. Had a couple of blocked shots but that was about it.

Substitutes:

Luka Milivojevic (for McCarthy 67) – 5 – Didn’t really add much to Palace’s midfield.

Jairo Riedewald (for McArthur 72) – 5 – Couldn’t change the game.

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