TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

Chilwell Shines As Chelsea Spank Crystal Palace 

By Ibrahim Taiwo, The Nigerian Voice Sports
Listen to article

Summer signing Ben Chilwell scored one and assisted another on his first Premier League start since his £45m move from Leicester City as Chelsea returned to winning ways against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.

Having made his first appearance on Tuesday as Frank Lampard's side were knocked out of the Carabao Cup on penalties by Tottenham, Chilwell marked his 100th Premier League appearance by firing in at the back post following Mamadou Sakho's failed clearance.

Chilwell, 23, then delivered an excellent cross from the left to allow Kurt Zouma to head in a second after 66 minutes, before Jorginho stepped up to convert two penalties in the space of four minutes to seal victory.

Manager Lampard also handed a league debut to £22m goalkeeper Edouard Mendy as the hosts, led in defence by fellow summer addition Thiago Silva, registered a first clean sheet of the season.

The Blues struggled to break down a typically solid Palace defence in an uneventful first half, as Timo Werner shot straight at Vicente Guaita and both Jorginho and Tammy Abraham failed to hit the target from Chilwell corners.

Visitors Palace failed to muster a shot on target in a toothless display and never looked likely to respond as Chelsea's quality told after the interval.

Chelsea climb into the top four before the rest of the weekend's action, while defeat leaves Crystal Palace in eighth.

Following their first starts for the club in Tuesday's Carabao Cup exit, Mendy and Chilwell's league bows were among six changes made by Lampard to the side which clawed back a point in a 3-3 draw with promoted West Brom last weekend.

The new-look Blues - who avoided back-to-back defeats on that occasion courtesy of Abraham's late equaliser - dominated possession on Saturday but were initially frustrated in their attempts to unlock a Palace side content to sit back for much of the first half.

It was a rare error in the Eagles defence which allowed Chilwell to fire his new side ahead, as Sakho's attempted headed clearance dropped perfectly for the England international.

With Palace forced to pursue an equaliser, Chelsea's youthful side began to flow - with the free-to-roam Kai Havertz, 21, in particular a constant headache for the Eagles defence as he stretched the back-line with clever movement off the ball.

Chilwell had delivered delightful crosses from the left throughout and Zouma eventually took advantage to grant the left-back the assist his efforts deserved.

Abraham had gone close to adding a third but headed wide from Callum Hudson-Odoi's cross and the striker drew the foul from Tyrick Mitchell shortly after to allow Jorginho to put the result beyond doubt with a cool spot-kick after 78 minutes.

Abraham was left aggrieved when Jorginho once again insisted on penalty taking duties after Havertz was felled by Sakho a few minutes later, and the Italy international made no mistake to lessen the chance of any ill-feeling from his team-mate.

While it is generally accepted that the introduction of £200m-worth of new talent would take some time to settle, the second half performance will have delighted Lampard, who finally has some proof of progress and a promising sign of what could be to come. (BBC)