Crystal Palace 0-3 Chelsea: Guus asks for more and the players deliver.
Chelsea beat Crystal Palace with goals from Oscar, Willian and Diego Costa in a cold and wet Se...
Chelsea beat Crystal Palace with goals from Oscar, Willian and Diego Costa in a cold and wet Selhurst Park to take three important points. It was just what Guus Hiddink had asked for.
The Manager had spoken ahead of the game and had stated two key points. First that he would approach his team selections based on the strength of our opponent (especially in the midfield areas) and that the team needed to provide more for Diego Costa up front.
With that, the manager brought Cesc Fabregas in to the side to replace Nemanja Matic and Costa back in place of Pedro with the tried and trusted attacking three of Willian, Oscar and Hazard supporting the big man up top.
We have to be honest here, for 20-25 minutes Palace were good and caused us some problems. We gave away far too many silly free kicks giving them a chance to swing the ball into the box. A wave of free kicks and corners tested our defensive unit but the home side could not capitalise on any of them. Chelsea withstood the pressure.
Unfortunately for us, Eden Hazard looked to pick up a groin strain around 20 minutes into the first half and had to be replaced by Pedro. Now that's a blow if he is sidelined for a few weeks. I cannot understand some of the reaction to this on Social Media and some of it has been a joke to be honest. Anyone could see he was struggling and had pulled a muscle. More on that later..
It was after that period that Chelsea started to dominate the ball. Obi Mikel playing alongside Cesc Fabregas was outstanding and provided a screen on front of our back four to protect them all game. In addition, both of them began to dictate our play and use the ball well.
Much of our problem this season has been either a lack of killer instinct or a lack of that pass that really opens the door. Fabregas delivered a perfect pass to Costa and the hard-working front man (which is really good to see) was in on goal. He waited and slid a ball square to Oscar who slid the ball home to make it 0-1 against the run of play at that stage.
From that moment Chelsea settled into their game. The passing was crisp and quick, we were dominating and looked dangerous for once.
Unfortunately for all our possession we couldn't unlock the door for a second time and we went in one up at half time.
The second half was again better from Chelsea. Palace had the odd half chance here and there but lacked a real cutting edge on the day. They missed key players and it made a difference to their game.
Oscar, Willian, Costa and Fabregas were playing some really good football, some good link up play and Palace couldn't cope. In fact, our one and two-touch passing was opening up space in front of their back four and our second goal was a beauty. Fabregas plays a quick ball up to Oscar who takes a touch and flicks the ball passed his opponent as he is being fouled around 25 yards out. With that, Willian sees his opportunity, steps forward and rifles the ball into the top corner giving the Goalkeeper absolutely no chance to make it 0-2 and game over! What a strike once again from our player of the season!
Chelsea were now playing like the Champions of last season. We were knocking the ball about, keeping hold of possession and then when the space opened up we looked to open the door.
Our third goal came from good possession again and then a ball played wide right to Willian. He took on his defender and played a ball into the box which the Goalkeeper could only parry into the path of Diego Costa who tapped home from close range to make it 0-3. I was pleased for him that he scored as his performance on the day was excellent. There was no drama with his markers, he just got on with playing football and made a real telling contribution.
I wanted us to go for more as the game played out but being honest, We would take any sort of victory at the moment wouldn't we!
I tweeted before the game that I had hoped that we would deliver the three points with a performance that would indicate to the rest of the Premier League that we are down but not out and that's what exactly was delivered.
Guus Hiddink asked for more, we asked for more and it's exactly what we got!
Onwards and upwards! KTBFFH & CAREFREE!