Result: Chelsea hold off Crystal Palace to move up to third

sportsmole.co.uk, 7 July 2020, 15:58
Result: Chelsea hold off Crystal Palace to move up to third

Chelsea remained on course for a top-four finish after getting the better of Crystal Palace in a five-goal thriller at Selhurst Park.

The Blues were in cruise control after Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic struck, but Wilfried Zaha ended his goal drought to give the hosts hope.

Substitute Tammy Abraham added a third for Frank Lampard 's side before Christian Benteke 's tap-in set up an intriguing finale.

But Chelsea held out to strengthen their hopes of Champions League qualification.

Despite the importance of the fixture, Lampard opted for 19-year-old Billy Gilmour over the experienced Jorginho in midfield, with N'Golo Kante unavailable due to a hamstring problem.

Several players had picked up injuries since the resumption of football and another was added to the list after six minutes, which contributed to the opener for Chelsea.

Reece James played the ball down the right wing and Gary Cahill, against his old club, pulled up while trying to track Willian's run.

The Brazilian remained unaffected and cut back for Giroud to slot home from close range for his fifth league goal of the season.

Palace's players remonstrated with referee David Coote to no avail and Roy Hodgson had to introduce Mamadou Sakho for Cahill, who headed straight for the changing room.

Chelsea almost added another before the home side could adjust, but Kurt Zouma headed wide from Willian's corner.

It remained 1-0 until the first drinks break, but the Blues did increase their lead straight after in the 27th minute.

Willian was at the heart of it again and exchanged passes with Giroud before he found Pulisic on the left. The American worked a yard of space against Joel Ward and drilled in at Vicente Guaita's near post.

At this stage it appeared Chelsea would run riot, but Palace responded in some style through Zaha.

Right-back James lost possession near the halfway line and Patrick Van Aanholt 's forward pass ricocheted into space, where Zaha took control ahead of team-mate Cheikhou Kouyate and rifled home from 30 yards.

The 34th-minute wonder strike ended the Ivory Coast winger's 16-game goal drought and Hodgson's men continued to pressure the visitors until half-time.

The end-to-end feel to the game continued in the second period and Giroud headed over wastefully from James' centre.

Palace remained a threat and Jordan Ayew had a shot deflected wide before Lampard introduced Abraham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek with 25 minutes left.

The double substitution had the desired effect as the duo combined for Chelsea's third in south London.

Ex-Palace loanee Loftus-Cheek brought the ball forward and squeezed a pass through to Abraham, who slotted in off a post for his first goal since January 11.

Lampard was not able to relax during the final 19 minutes, however, as the hosts immediately hit back when Van Aanholt got in behind and picked out Benteke, who tapped in from close range.

Palace almost produced an equaliser deep into stoppage time too, but Kepa Arrizabalaga denied Scott Dann before Zouma slide in on Benteke as Chelsea consigned the hosts to a fourth straight defeat.

Top News
Mesut Ozil gives defiant interview on Arsenal future, refusing a pay cut and 'being right' - 'People have been trying for two years to destroy me' Chelsea 'still £20m short of Kai Havertz valuation' Manchester United 'put other transfer talks on hold to revive Sancho deal' Ozil 'disappointed' with Arsenal's reaction to criticism over alleged Uighur Muslim persecution in China Transfer news LIVE: Mesut Ozil breaks silence on Arsenal future, Man United target Jadon Sancho talks up Dortmund, Paul Pogba to talk new contract, Man City rival Liverpool for Thiago Liverpool release vibrant new turquoise away kit for 2020/21 season, with bold Nike design featuring nods to Bill Shankly and the city's famous music scene Cristiano Ronaldo 'offered to Barcelona to link up with Lionel Messi' Barcelona are more dependent on Messi than they have ever been - Schuster Arsenal, Manchester City 'handed boost in Houssem Aouar pursuit' 'Lampard would help Havertz develop even further' - Chelsea ideal destination for Leverkusen star, says Ballack Thursday's papers: Thiago Alcantara, Jadon Sancho, Ismaila Sarr Greg Docherty and Ross McCrorie in line for permanent departures from Rangers 'People have been trying to destroy me' - Ozil explains why he didn't take Arsenal pay cut despite £350k-a-week wages Liverpool to get record £175m boost as Premier League clubs decide prize money cuts will not affect 2019/20 season Thursday's Transfer Talk Update: Jack Grealish, Donny van de Beek, Jadon Sancho Chelsea transfer news LIVE: When Kai Havertz move could happen, glimmer of hope in Jan Oblak deal Liverpool transfer news LIVE: Reds get huge £175m boost, 'next Neymar' linked, Man City enter Thiago race Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Magalhaes the man to improve defence, Partey to get big contract, player plus cash for 'new Cristiano Ronaldo', Willian latest Internacional vs Santos Predictions & Tips Aribo scores as Balogun's Rangers defeat St Johnstone Fluminense vs Palmeiras Predictions & Tips Jadon Sancho hints at Borussia Dortmund stay amid Manchester United speculation Manchester United 'make fresh approach for Ansu Fati' Coronavirus roundup: All the latest news from the world of sport on August 12 Al-Khelaifi: Neymar and Mbappe will never leave PSG Manchester United's Jadon Sancho move 'in danger of collapsing' Barcelona vs Bayern Munich Match Preview Jadon Sancho hints he sees his future at Borussia Dortmund after breaking silence amid Manchester United interest Manchester City to rival Liverpool for Thiago Alcantara? Arsenal to offer player-plus-cash deal for Joelson Fernandes?