Chelsea came out on absolute fire at Selhurst Park, and for once, made our domination count early and often.
Kai Havertz opened the scoring with a precise left-footed shot from the right, before Christian Pulisic spanked one into the roof of the net from a close, tight angle with his left, from the left — all inside the first ten minutes, and all before Palace had even one meaningful touch on the ball.
Chelsea kept up the pressure, and only a great save from Guaita on Havertz and a goal-line clearance kept the scoreline close. But then Kurt Zouma rose majestically through the air, as he often does, to find the back of the net on the half-hour mark and make it 3-0.
Chelsea began the second half in a slightly more sloppy fashion, with a few poor decisions and giveaways in dangerous areas, and Palace eventually made us pay for that with a goal by Christian Benteke, mismatched against Chilwell after Palace overloaded their left and we didn’t deal with that well enough.
A brief spring in Palace’s step was quickly snuffed out by Chelsea regaining control of the match. And after wasting multiple fantastic chances, Pulisic grabbed his second to make the last ten or so minutes a pressure-free training exercise. We could have had half a dozen today, if not more, but four will have to do.
- Three changes from midweek, one enforced with Christensen apparently picking up an injury in training yesterday. Zouma in for him (Thiago Silva suspended), while Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic also get starts, with James and Werner dropping to the bench.
- Tuchel subbing off both Jorginho (for Kanté) and Kovačić (for Ziyech), presumably with a view towards Tuesday’s game. James for Hudson-Odoi completed the changes.
- Zouma the highest scoring defender in the league with his fifth of the season (but first since December). Havertz with his second Premier League goal. Pulisic has three goals in his last two games.
- Chelsea scored more goals in one-half than we had in any full game under Tuchel previously, while also still holding Palace to zero shots in the first half. And then Palace scored with their first shot because football.
- Chelsea back into fourth, at least temporarily, two points clear of Liverpool (who won today) and West Ham, who play tomorrow, at home against Leicester City.
- Next up: Porto second leg on Tuesday