Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz stood out, as Chelsea cruised to a 4-1 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
Chelsea were hot off the gates and just eight minutes in, they were ahead, as Kai Havertz scored his first away goal for the Blues with a peach of a finish. Moments later, Chelsea were two to the good as Christian Pulisic collected a deft pass by Havertz before producing a thunderous finish.
The visitors continued to carve out the openings, while Crystal Palace carried no sort of threat whatsoever. So, it was not surprising that Kurt Zouma made it 3-0 at the half-hour mark, heading in from Mason Mount’s free-kick. Thereafter, Chelsea had a few more chances to add to their lead, but were undone by poor finishing.
Crystal Palace would then go on to pull a goal back just past the hour mark, as Christian Benteke scored from close range, converting Jeffrey Schlupp’s cross with a fine finish. However, Chelsea would go on to wrap up their win 15 minutes later when Pulisic finished off a swift move to make it 4-1.
The result meant that ahead of the game between West Ham United and Leicester City on Sunday, Chelsea returned to the top four. And following the biggest win under the tutelage of their new manager, The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Edouard Mendy: 6/10
A game in which Mendy had precious little to do. The Chelsea goalkeeper could not have done much to deny Christian Benteke either, while he completed all but four of his passes.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7/10
While his partners at the back were still called into action a few times, Azpilicueta had a relatively quieter evening, which meant he could charge up the pitch, completing 94 percent of his attempted passes. Hardly bothered by Wilfried Zaha in the defensive phases.
Kurt Zouma: 8/10
Starting at the centre of Chelsea’s back three, Zouma was instrumental in keeping a lid on Benteke for the most part while also being efficient in his duties of progressing the ball. Won a staggering 10 aerial duels, one of which included the moment when he scored his goal at the half-hour mark.
Antonio Rudiger: 7/10
A solid effort from Rudiger, who had more work to do in progressing the ball higher up the pitch than put in the hard yards off the ball. Having said that, the German international did complete 2 clearances, interceptions and tackles each while winning 6 duels. Ought to have scored in the first half, though, when meeting a Mason Mount free-kick.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 8/10
Installed in the right wing-back role ahead of Reece James, this was a superb showing by Hudson-Odoi, who set Kai Havertz up for the opening Chelsea goal. In fact, the Englishman played a game-high 5 key passes and was a constant thorn on Crystal Palace’s side. Not tested a great deal on the defensive front, though, with Eberechi Eze enduring a difficult outing.
We’re not the same team when Jorginho is not in the team. Look at how instrumental he was in the first half in particular. Jorginho is such a strategic thinker and orchestrates everything! Top player 💙
— 𝐈𝐛𝐳𝐲 (@IbzSpeaks) April 10, 2021
After a disastrous performance against West Bromwich Albion last weekend, this was a complete 180 from Jorginho, who bossed the midfield effortlessly, completing 93 percent of his passes while also creating a fine opening. The Italian international made also made quite a few of critical defensive interventions to ensure Crystal Palace never got on top of Chelsea. A step in the right direction.
Mateo Kovacic: 8/10
Kovacic is simply sensational at the moment. With Jorginho also producing an improved display, the Croat’s showing got a boost as well. Indeed, Kovacic completed the most passes (109/116) in the game and had the most touches, while also playing in as many as 3 key passes and completing each of his 10 attempted long balls. Worked hard off the ball as well, when required.
Ben Chilwell: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Chilwell. While the English international was a constant outlet down the left flank, his end product was not quite at par while he also missed a couple of glorious chances to score in the opening hour. Beaten by Benteke for the Crystal Palace goal, although he was not really to be blamed for being overpowered.
Mason Mount: 9/10
Mason Mount's game by numbers for Chelsea vs. Palace:
100% take-ons completed
92% passing accuracy
7 accurate crosses
4 chances created
3 ball recoveries
Another sensational display. ✨ pic.twitter.com/bt6xOJ3IZV
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 10, 2021
While there are certain Chelsea players who are finally starting to find their footing, Mount just keeps going from strength to strength. Highly influential once again, the English international ran the show and pulled the strings effortlessly along with Jorginho. Played as many as 4 key passes and got the assist for Zouma’s goal while also being involved in the build-up to Christian Pulisic’s second.
Christian Pulisic: 9/10
Back in the starting lineup, Pulisic produced a typically purposeful display that saw him get into dangerous areas while also not shying away from taking on the Crystal Palace defence. The finish for his first goal was delightful, as Pulisic powered his shot into the roof of the net. Positioned to perfection later in the game to double his tally for the evening. Getting back to his best.
Kai Havertz: 9/10
It has taken a long time coming, but Havertz might have just finally found his calling at Chelsea. Full of dangerous runs from the get-go, the German international also pressed high up to win possession inside the final third. The finish for his goal, though, was simply sumptuous, though it was outdone by a delectable flick a few minutes later. Also set up Pulisic for his first.
Kai Havertz today: pic.twitter.com/pPU6sLzQ6x
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) April 10, 2021
N’Golo Kante: 6/10
On for Jorginho, Kante was a little slow off the blocks, which partly enabled Crystal Palace to pounce and get a goal back. However, the Frenchman slowly found his feet and kept the hosts at bay for the remainder of the game. Clear why Tuchel is taking it slow with Kante’s return.
Reece James: 7/10
On for Hudson-Odoi, James made an instant impact after being subbed in, setting Pulisic up for his second after being released on the right flank by Mount.
Hakim Ziyech: N/A
A late introduction, Ziyech did not have too many opportunities to make an impact.