Chelsea had made a somewhat slow start to the game, but neither side did much of anything too incisive for the first 15-20 minutes. Chelsea threatened occasionally, especially from the right flank, but the passes into the box lacked quality and accuracy.
Palace then got into the game and quickly generated some chances, with Kepa called into action twice (and flapping badly once, too).
The rest of the half was a fairly even end-to-end affair, with Kepa making a couple more (very good) saves, while at the other end, Hall, Havertz, Silva, and Ziyech saw chances go begging.
The second half began in similarly subdued fashion before Chelsea slowly ratcheted up the pressure and started peppering the area with crosses from the left. One of those was eventually won cleanly by Havertz, giving Chelsea the lead just past the hour-mark.
The flow of the game didn’t change much after the goal, though Palace did threaten a bit late on as Chelsea missed a couple great chances, including a point-blank header from Havertz, to put the game out of reach. But we stood tall and saw out a much-needed victory.
- Five changes from midweek, with Badiashile making his debut and Chukwuemeka getting an overdue start. Gallagher and Jorginho also in from the start, with Ziyech coming in for the suspended Félix.
- Also a change of formation, to a back-four with Hall at left back, Chalobah at right back. Jorginho the anchor in midfield, Gallagher also dropping, the rest going forward.
- Like-for-like changes in Auba (for Chuk) and K2 (for Hall). Azpi & Kova on for the final few minutes plus stoppage time for Havertz & Ziyech in an attempt to lock things down.
- A win and a clean sheet can you believe it!
- Chelsea stay in 10th as we reach the halfway point of the season.
- Next up: Liverpool away, early on Saturday