Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace: Five things we learned

Chelsea were made to work hard for their thee points during a hard-fought 2-0 win over Crystal Palace today.

This was the sixth league victory in a row for Frank Lampard’s men as they continue to impress with their perfect balance of youth and top-class experienced players.

Palace defended deep and made Chelsea labour for their efforts during the first half, but this was a patient, well-crafted win for the hosts who climbed to second and continue to win fans and admirers for their exciting brand of attacking play.

Here’s a look at five things we learned from an entertaining London derby…

Cahill and co hold keep their discipline to frustrate the hosts 

Chelsea fans wouldn’t have needed reminding of just how resolute and disciplined Gary Cahill can be as part of any back four. The veteran centre back was making his return to Stamford Bridge with Crystal Palace and was at the heart of a really solid display for the Eagles.

Palace were always going to look to frustrate their flamboyant opposition and for a significant proportion of this clash their game plan was solid. This was Hodgson’s 300th Premier League match as a manager and he looks to have moulded the South London club perfectly, to his football principles.

Cahill’s addition in the summer looks a real coup as he was calm and composed against his former club and made one top class block on Willian on the stroke of half-time to keep his side level.

Jorginho a big loss for Lampard’s men as Chelsea labour in first half 

Chelsea’s lynchpin and mid-week hero Jorginho was suspended for this match and it was clear that his side lacked the rhythm and poise that the Italy international brings to proceedings. Palace sat deep with a 4-5-1 and invited the hosts on to them during the opening 45 minutes.

However, Chelsea struggled to open up their hosts as their build up play lacked real penetration and patience threatened to wear out. Kante was neat on the ball and looked confident with his passing but it is clear just how important Jorginho has become in the engine room of this Chelsea side as the home side’s play got bogged down and remained largely in front of the Palace lines.

Willian and Pulisic help break the lines for the hosts 

Chelsea needed their superior attacking quality to shine through and they got what they needed in the second half as Cristian Pulisic and Willian began to turn the screw for the hosts. Palace’s stubborn rearguard was left with no reply once Willian’s intelligent flick played Tammy Abraham in for the opening goal.

The Brazilian was superb throughout and always looked for a clever pass to try and open up the defence. Likewise, Pulisic put in another startlingly mature display as the former Borussia Dortmund man continues to thrive at his new club. The American was tireless with his running and really unsettled the Palace lines in the second half. He got the goal he deserved as well and looks a real asset for this vibrant young side.

Reece James provides another positive for Lampard 

This was the youngest ever Chelsea starting XI in their Premier League history with an average age of 24 years and 88 days.

Rather fittingly then it was another youngster who caught the eye for at Stamford Bridge as Reece James put in a very confident, accomplished display down the right flank.

The young full-back looked strong at the back and comfortable coming forward. The 19-year-old will certainly get more game time off the back of this solid display as the future continues to look bright for the crop of youngsters at Lampard’s disposal.

Abraham proves he is enjoying more than just a purple patch 

This was a game that needed patience and precision for the home side. Palace’s game plan nullified the Chelsea attack and prevented them from creating an avalanche of chances as they have done in previous games.

They needed their number nine to be ready and clinical when he got his chance and when Abraham was beautifully played through by Willian, the youngster duly applied a tidy finish and notched a huge goal for his side.

The 22-year-old became the youngest player to reach double figures in the Premier League for Chelsea since the legendary Arjen Robben. After exploding onto the scene with a flurry of early goals this season,

Abraham has continued to deliver the goods upfront for his side and is showing real comfort with the burden placed on him to be Chelsea’s matchwinner. He is now the joint leading goal scorer in the division as he goes from strength to strength for the Blues.

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