Monday, March 27

Ziyech and Thiago Silva impress as Blues extend winning run to five matches with 1-0 win over Palace

CHELSEA struggled against Crystal Palace but a late winner from Hakim Ziyech means their winning run continues.

The Blues failed to create many clear cut chances with the Eagles frustrating flair players like Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz.

Hakim Ziyech scored the winner with a brilliant 89th-minute volley


Hakim Ziyech scored the winner with a brilliant 89th-minute volleyCredit: Reuters
Thiago Silva produced yet another man of the match display for Chelsea


Thiago Silva produced yet another man of the match display for ChelseaCredit: Reuters
Romelu Lukaku and Malang Sarr look frustrated as they try and work out a way through Crystal Palace's defense


Romelu Lukaku and Malang Sarr look frustrated as they try and work out a way through Crystal Palace’s defenseCredit: Getty

But Hakim Ziyech, who had a 75th-minute strike ruled out for offside by VAR, got his reward with a minute of normal time remaining.

Substitute Marcos Alonso floated a brilliant cross to the far post and an unmarked Ziyech fired home with great skill to break Palace hearts.

Thomas Tuchel changed systems and operated with a back four in a 4-3-3 style.

But the formation did not suit Christian Pulisic who played in a central role, with Romelu Lukaku also receiving few goalscoring chances yet again.

Chelsea were untroubled at the back however and nullified the threat of Wilfried Zaha – with Thiago Silva the stand-out performer.

Here is how SunSport’s Simon Phillips rated Chelsea’s display at Selhurst Park.


Edward Mendy – 6

As expected, he wasn’t too busy as Chelsea bossed the play. He did his job playing out from the back well and was there when called upon to make a save or two.

Andreas Christensen – 7

Asked to play as a right-back today and he did his job well, but he obviously wasn’t going to be bursting forward like a full-back so just did the basics and defended well, good on the ball too.

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Antonio Rudiger – 6

He almost scored a fantastic long ranger but it was well-saved. Other than that, he defended well and was often bringing the ball out of defence.

Thiago Silva – 8

Stayed always as Chelsea’s last man back and did it superbly again.

This man never ceases to amaze me and plays like he is 10 years younger than he actually is. Played with class, quality, and the calmness you see from him week after week.

Malang Sarr – 6

Played a great through ball in the first half that Kante should have scored from, and he did what was asked of him well enough. He got beaten a couple of times but overall, not a bad game.

Jorginho – 6

Lost the ball on a couple of occasions but did his best to help Chelsea control possession from a deep area.

He looked for a couple of long passes but didn’t make them.

N’Golo Kante – 6

Should have scored but as ever was a real nuisance to Palace players and was all over the pitch. He was attacking a lot but also back in for his defensive duties as well playing in more of an 8 role today.

Hakim Ziyech – 8

One of Chelsea’s better players once again, really starting to show the great attacking play and consistency that we saw of him at Ajax before he came to Chelsea.

Some neat moves and passes, especially the long-range ones and kept his head up to grab the winner after having a goal ruled out 15 minutes earlier.

Christian Pulisic – 5

Oddly he was asked to play centrally rather than on the wing and he did make some good driving runs forward with the ball and linked well with Havertz on occasions.

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He should have scored though and had far too many sloppy touches and misplaced passes.

Kai Havertz – 8

He did his best out wide on the left in the first half, when perhaps he should have been swapped with Pulisic in terms of positions. But he had some neat touches and worked really hard.

Romelu Lukaku – 5

Totally isolated up top, hardly any through balls or balls to his feet as his teammates never managed to find him.

However, he wasn’t working hard enough or doing enough to get in the game himself and was lacking the intensity.


Marcos Alonso for Sarr (73 mins) – 7

Produced the moment of quality Tuchel was looking for when he brought him on to assist Ziyech’s goal.

Mateo Kovacic for Jorginho (73 mins) – 7

More energy and drive in the midfield, something that should have been done sooner.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Kante (73 mins) – 6

Asked to play as the holding midfielder and did OK.

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