Don’t let the 4-0 scoreline confuse you. Chelsea’s win over Crystal Palace yesterday was a perfectly solid and well-controlled 2-0 win. The two bonus goals at the end have confused much of the post-match media coverage, which descended into hyperbole over expectations and returns on investment and other such grand concepts beyond the only concept that actually matters, winning.
Head coach Frank Lampard is more than familiar with that concept of course, and he was more than happy to see it unfold in front of his eyes at Stamford Bridge.
“It is what I wanted, I think we wanted to win the game first and foremost.
“At half-time, we had a lot of control [but] I think probably our final-third play, which is to be expected at the moment, in the period that we were in was not bright enough, not enough movement or penetration.
“I think in the second half that changed and we got a very good win.”
Lampard may bemoan the lack of cutting edge in the first-half, but what was also missing in those 45 minutes were any overt mistakes, defensive catastrophes, and other such boneheaded plays that doomed Chelsea to draws and losses in three of our past four games. And certainly no one’s going to miss those!
Instead, Chelsea controlled the game with possession, (re)covered well on counter opportunities, and limited Wilfried Zaha to just 8 touches in the first half.
Wilfried Zaha had the fewest touches (8) out of any Crystal Palace player in the first half against Chelsea.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 3, 2020
Isolated up top. pic.twitter.com/w06if2mAlG
The improvement in the final third was obviously welcome in the second half, and a key contributor to that was new left back Ben Chilwell, who was making his Premier League debut for the club.
But unlike our other new signings, Chilwell’s not actually new to the Premier League, and that showed with his practically immediate adaptation. The 23-year-old spoke at the time of his signing of just how well Lampard’s system fit his own skills, and that was certainly true yesterday!
“I thought Ben Chilwell was fantastic in his contribution in all senses. I thought he got his goal, assists, his defensive play, his engine to arrive into attack from that left-hand side and he is always ready to join in all the time. Getting up and down, considering the injury he has had.
“With Ben, he is Premier League ready, you could see that with as well as he has done for Leicester. He looked like he had played with us for a long time.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
And hopefully that will continue for a long time as well.
With new goalkeeper Édouard Mendy also keeping a clean sheet in his league debut, Chelsea head into the international break on a great, with 7 points from 4 games and already in the top-four at the moment, albeit with a game-in-hand over several teams.