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Crystal Palace 2-3 Chelsea, Premier League: Statistical review and analysis

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The numbers behind the game

Crystal Palace v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Phew, that was close.

Overview

This was probably the wildest win of the season yet, featuring equal parts Chelsea excellence going forward and Chelsea non-excellence at the other end.

The first 30 minutes of the game were as good as any this season, with Chelsea buzzing around the pitch and bending Palace’s defensive structure at will. However, an outstanding goal from Zaha changed the tide and Chelsea were probably the happier team to hear the half-time whistle.

Tammy Abraham’s goal to make it 3-1 should have put the game to rest but it was followed by comical defending which resulted in Christian Benteke’s first home goal in over 2 years.

The final five minutes of the game carried a level of nervousness and sheer chaos that made the 4-4 draw with Ajax look like a training game. Kepa, Zouma and the woodwork all played their part in Chelsea (somehow) walking away with three points.


Match statistics

Crystal Palace vs Chelsea statistics

Stats have been taken from fbref and understat. Please note that there is a rare, significant difference in xG between the two sources. Fbref’s xG data has been used in this case.


Individual ratings

Frank Lampard

Persisted with the same team as in recent weeks except for the injury-enforced absence of N’Golo Kanté. His decision to trust Gilmour over Jorginho was a strong indication of where the two stand in his plans, and his trust in Gilmour was repaid.

Lampard’s usual 4-3-3 worked well in an attacking sense, as it usually does, but also highlighted the naivety and inexperience in his coaching. Chelsea committing as many men going forward as they did despite being 2-0 up was bizarre — Chelsea attacking with almost 7 players at once. A degree of balance is required.

RATING: 7


Kepa Arrizabalaga

A mixed game for Chelsea’s No.1. Questionable goalkeeping lead to Zaha’s equalizer and sapped all of Chelsea’s momentum. His footwork cost him a few valuable seconds while diving and resulted in Zaha’s fast-yet-saveable shot going past him.

However, he cannot be blamed for Benteke’s goal and his fingertip intervention in the final minutes bailed out Chelsea, despite carrying an element of fortune.

RATING: 6.5


Reece James

Had a better outing than his previous game against Watford, especially going forward. Put a delicious ball on the plate for Giroud which was ultimately squandered. His tendency to attack is commendable but he needs to be a bit more judicious about when he is charging forward, as evidenced by the buildup to Scott Dann’s chance at the end of the game.

Stats of note:
6 passes into penalty area - 1st
12 progressive passes - 1st
7 passes under pressure - Joint 1st
4 blocks - Joint 2nd
4 clearances - Joint 2nd
2 interceptions - Joint 2nd
1 pass into penalty area - Joint 2nd
48 carries - 3rd

RATING: 7.5


Andreas Christensen

Has experienced a dip in form since his phenomenal performance against Manchester City. Was routinely targeted by Palace as an aerial weakness and could have done significantly better in two scenarios: Benteke’s goal and Dann’s chance. While the team managed to get away with the latter, improvements are needed and needed soon.

Stats of note:
4 interceptions - 1st
4 clearances - Joint 2nd
3 aerial duels won (out of 8) - Joint 2nd

RATING: 6.5


Kurt Zouma

It is not a stretch to say Zouma was doing the work of one and a half defenders against Palace. While his usual aerial prowess and tendency to win duels was on show, nothing will quite come close to his last-ditch tackle on Benteke. It could well turn out to be a pivotal moment in the race for the top-four.

Stats of note:
5 aerial duels won (out of 9) - 1st
8 clearances - 1st
3 interceptions - 2nd
3 passes into the final third - Joint 3rd

RATING: 8


César Azpilicueta

A routine performance carried out with minimal fuss. Linked up with the attack to the best of his abilities but being a right footed player, he’s limited on the left.

Stats of note:
19 pressures in total - 2nd
7 passes under pressure - Joint 1st
3 progressive passes - Joint 3rd
3 passes into final third - Joint 3rd

RATING: 7


Crystal Palace v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Peter Cziborra/Pool via Getty Images

Billy Gilmour

Lampard showed massive confidence in the 19-year-old by picking him over Jorginho and he is unlikely to regret it. While this was not a performance as good as those against Everton and Liverpool, it showed the traits that make Gilmour so highly rated. His composure in possession and snappiness out of it were both important for Chelsea.

Stats of note:
51 carries - 2nd
4 blocks - Joint 2nd
2 interceptions - Joint 3rd
2 dribblers tackled - Joint 1st
13 loose-ball recoveries - Joint 2nd

RATING: 7


Ross Barkley

Did not have the same goalscoring influence as against Watford but kept play moving well and his ability to track runners was important. A standard display with no standouts in either a positive or a negative sense.

Stats of note:
4 passes into final third - 2nd
1 pass into the penalty box - Joint 2nd

RATING: 6.5


Mason Mount

His ability to influence games without directly featuring on the scoresheet is becoming more impressive every week. His turn and pass to Willian in the first half was a moment of real quality that deserved better. Now that he has improved his general play, it is crucial that he starts getting goals and assists if he is to get the recognition he deserves.

Stats of note:
4 completed dribbles (out of 6) - Joint 1st
15 loose-ball recoveries - 1st
18 pressures - 2nd
7 passes under pressure - Joint 1st

RATING: 7


Christian Pulisic

Another week, another electric display, another goal. While he was not at his best, which is completely understandable due to his workload, he still managed to get himself on the scoresheet and was a threat in general play. A rest sometime soon would be much appreciated and will pay dividends going forward.

Stats of note:
1 goal
4 completed dribbles (out of 9) - Joint 1st
6 touches in the penalty box - Joint 1st
1 pass into penalty box - Joint 2nd
3 key passes - 2nd
3 progressive passes - Joint 3rd
23 pressures - 1st

RATING: 7.5


Crystal Palace v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Olivier Giroud

Continued his strong vein of form with a goal and some good link-up play with his teammates. Could have done better from Reece James’s cross but ultimately it was another good day in the office for the veteran striker.

Stats of note:
1 goal
6 touches in the penalty box - Joint 1st

RATING: 7


Willian

If players were judged only by their last 8 games, Willian would probably be among the 10 best players on the planet. Two assists in this one continued his rich vein of form and his general play was just as good. It is not a surprise to see Lampard wanting to retain him.

Stats of note:
2 assists
2 passes into final third - 1st
4 progressive passes - 2nd
5 key passes - 1st
3 completed dribbles (out of 5) - 2nd
54 carries - 1st
13 recoveries - Joint 2nd

RATING: 8


Substitutes

Crystal Palace v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

This was perhaps his best display since his return from injury. His weight of the pass to Tammy for Chelsea’s third goal was simply brilliant. His overall passing and movement with the ball looked sharp too.

RATING: 7

Tammy Abraham

Got himself a long-awaited goal which hopefully will see him kick on from here. His carelessness in possession almost led to Palace’s equalizer but he got away with it.

RATING: 7

Jorginho

Was a calming influence on the game for the first 5-10 minutes of his introduction before he got caught up in the chaos. His willingness to show for the ball and keep it moving was useful in temporarily defusing Palace’s momentum.

Parallels can be drawn to the way Cesc Fàbregas was used off the bench in the 16-17 season against tired defences to maximize the effect of his passing.

RATING: 7