Ben Chilwell produced a star turn on his Premier League debut for Chelsea as Frank Lampard’s side beat Crystal Palace 4-0 on Saturday.
Chilwell marked his 100th appearance in the competition with his fifth goal to break the deadlock early in the second half and crossed for Kurt Zouma to double the lead 66 minutes in.
Palace have already beaten Southampton and Manchester United this season, but a run of five consecutive defeats to Chelsea and just two wins in 11 attempts at Stamford Bridge in the top flight was hardly encouraging pre-game reading.
Indeed, Edouard Mendy – making his first league start for the Blues – was largely untested in goal as the home side eased to a third win in six games in all competitions this season through a Jorginho penalty double.
It had looked like being a potentially frustrating contest for Chelsea, Timo Werner shooting straight at Vicente Guaita with one of their few chances of a disjointed first half.
Kai Havertz and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who is again being courted by Bayern Munich, were lively in the Palace half but created little for central striker Tammy Abraham.
So it was that Chelsea’s breakthrough came through an unlikely source, Chilwell smashing the ball past Guaita from six yards out after Mamadou Sakho had made a mess of an attempted clearance in the build-up.
Chilwell then turned provider for Chelsea’s second, Zouma rising highest to loop a header over Guaita from the England left-back’s cross, having missed arguably an easier chance from an earlier corner.
Jorginho made matters safe, slotting a penalty to Guaita’s left after Abraham had been tripped in the box by Tyrick Mitchell.
When Sakho felled Havertz, Jorginho was able to score an almost identical spot-kick with eight minutes left – but only after Cesar Azpilicueta had taken the ball off an angry-looking Abraham.
What does it mean? Chelsea winning but not yet clicking
Chelsea’s past two games were marked by inconsistency. They were excellent to come back and draw 3-3 with West Brom last week only after they had been so poor in the first 45 minutes, while Tuesday’s EFL Cup exit to Tottenham on penalties saw them surrender early control of the match.
This was a more accomplished all-round performance, but it still owed much to a lacklustre display from the visitors, who gifted them the opening goal and were careless at the back throughout.
Still, they are now on seven points from four games, a point above Palace.
Chelsea paid a reported initial fee of £45million to Leicester City for Chilwell and, on this evidence, it was a sound investment.
Aside from the goal and assist, he was a composed, confident presence down the left, delivering 11 crosses and creating three chances overall.
Palace’s good first-half work was undone when Sakho made a mess of clearing the ball before Chilwell’s goal, and his poor touch and hurried challenge gifted Jorginho his second penalty. He also won just one of four aerial duels.
Key Opta Facts
– Chelsea have won six consecutive league games against Palace for the first time in their history.
– The Blues have won more Premier League London derbies than any other side (133), losing just one of their last 11 such games at Stamford Bridge (W8 D2).
– Jorginho became the second Chelsea player to score two goals from the penalty spot in a single Premier League game after Frank Lampard versus Aston Villa in March 2010.
– Zouma has scored two goals in three Premier League games this season, having scored just one goal in his previous 75 appearances for Chelsea in the competition before the 2020-21 campaign.
– Since the start of last season, Palace have failed to score in the first half in 30 different Premier League games – more than any other side in the division.
Chelsea host Southampton next in two weeks’ time, with Palace’s next outing a home game against Brighton and Hove Albion on October 18.
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