Pulisic leads Chelsea past Crystal Palace
Chelsea beat a stubborn Crystal Palace side 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, as Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic popped up with second half goals.
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Abraham opened the scoring and Pulisic then delivered a late header to cap off a fine individual display.
A sixth-straight Premier League win for Frank Lampard’s side momentarily pushed them up to second place in the table.
3 things we learned
1. Confident Pulisic in full flow: From the first whistle Pulisic was feeling this and he went close on several occasions before he scored with his last touch of the game. The way he cut inside, dribbled past defenders and let fly was a joy to watch and Palace didn’t know how to handle the 21-year-old from Pennsylvania. Pulisic in full flow is a thing of beauty after his early struggles he’s now scored five PL goals in his last three games and this display was his best so far in a Chelsea shirt.
2. Blues miss Jorginho. Who partners him in midfield? Lampard will have a selection problem after the international break. Jorginho and Matteo Kovacic have played really well together while N’Golo Kante has been out, but Kante and Kovacic played well against Palace on Saturday. Kante is a guaranteed starter and Jorginho has now entered that territory as Chelsea missed his creativity and sublime passing skills against Palace. Kovacic played well but he will probably be the odd man out in central midfield.
3. Zaha frustrated by James: Chelsea teenager Reece James was handed his first PL start and he excelled to keep Wilfried Zaha quiet. The Palace winger was booked in the first half and look frustrated throughout as Palace couldn’t get him the ball and when he did, James timed his tackles superbly. James took his chance.
Man of the Match: Christian Pulisic - There is no American bias here. Pulisic was superb in the first half and then capped his fine display off with a late header before being subbed out to a standing ovation. What a few weeks for the USMNT star.
Chelsea took the game to Palace early on as Reece James’ cross almost caught out Vicente Guaita who had to tip the ball away.
Pulisic then dragged a shot wide as the Blues had most of the possession in the first half, and the USMNT star then bamboozled Joel Ward before forcing Guaita into a fine stop at his near post.
Willian and Emerson flashed free kicks wide and Pulisic then set up N’Golo Kante but his shot was well-blocked. Luka Milivojevic flashed a free kick wide of the far post as Palace struggled to get out of their own half in the first half.
Pulisic headed Kante’s cross over, then Willian’s shot was superbly blocked by Gary Cahill after Guaita had denied Tammy Abraham right on half time.
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At the start of the second half Chelsea called for a penalty kick as Pulisic bounced the ball off substitute Martin Kelly, but nothing was given.
Abraham buried his first chance of the game as Kovacic played the ball into Willian and his clever flick found the English striker onside and he slotted home to make it 1-0.
Kovacic then found Pulisic who took a great first touch and sent a powerful effort on goal which Guaita tipped over.
At the other end Milivojevic whipped in a dangerous free kick which found James Tomkins at the back post but he nodded just wide as the ball worked its way through a slew of bodies.
But with his final touch of the game Pulisic headed home after the ball deflected into his path and he scored for the third game running in the Premier League.