Three things we learned from Crystal Palace - Chelsea
Crystal Palace - Chelsea was a lopsided win as Thomas Tuchel saw his side respond to their defeat against West Brom last week.
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USMNT star Christian Pulisic scored twice, while Kai Havertz and Kurt Zouma also got in on the act as Christian Benteke pulled one back for Palace but they never got close to Chelsea.
The win is Chelsea’s biggest under Tuchel, as they are right in the hunt for the top four and are in a great position in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals and have an FA Cup semifinal next week. Palace have 38 points.
Three things we learned
1. Pulisic has a big day: Boy, did he need this. Two goals and he was a threat throughout, as he looked sharp and fit. He had a big impact off the bench against Porto in midweek and after his hamstring scare last weekend he showed no signs of injury. Tuchel believes he will be a key player late in the season and Pulisic is playing with confidence and is in fine form. The USMNT star now needs to stay fit and is pushing to be a regular starter after three-straight stars in the PL.
2. Chelsea show perfect response: Okay, we can call that West Brom game a one-off. They beat Porto and then brushed aside Palace over the last few days and Chelsea looked sharp and hungry. With Liverpool, Leicester and West Ham pushing hard for the top four, this will be a great battle for the top four. Tuchel probably has the best squad out of those four but with the Champions League and FA Cup coming up, he now has to rotate and manage the squad.
3. Palace have their flip flops on: My word, they are on holiday. And they shouldn’t be. Palace are easing through games and they will not go down, but what about the future? Roy Hodgson is unlikely to remain in charge after this summer and several players are out of contract. That latter fact would make you think that they would be playing harder than ever, especially with Eddie Howe linked with the job. Palace’s players need to have a good finish to the season to showcase their talents, especially Wilfried Zaha.
Man of the Match: Mason Mount - Buzzed around and totally dominate the tempo of the game. He oozed class.
Chelsea flew out of the traps as Pulisic almost scored at the near post but Vicente Guaita saved, and moments later Havertz curled home a beauty to make it 1-0.
Just over 100 seconds later they went 2-0 up inside the first 10 minutes, as the ball was played back to Pulisic who smashed home at the near post.
Mason Mount then crossed from a free kick and Zouma nodded home to make it 3-0, while Palace briefly threatened on the counter attack but it was all Chelsea.
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Chelsea eased through the second half as they had a few chances to kill the game off but Havertz was denied on numerous occasions.
Palace did get a goal back as Jeffrey Schlupp clipped in a cross that Christian Benteke headed home to make it 3-1.
But Pulisic had the last say as he surged in at the back post to flick home Reece James’ deflected cross to cap off a fine day for Chelsea.