Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace: 3 Blues Talking Points

Chelsea secure the victory at Stamford Bridge, marking three consecutive home wins in the league for the first time in a while, thanks to a late Noni Madueke goal from the spot. Talking points below.
Chelsea FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Chelsea FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League / Vince Mignott/MB Media/GettyImages

The Blues took a deserved lead in the 13th minute after a well-executed play by Malo Gusto concluded with the full-back squaring the ball right to the feet of Mykhailo Mudryk, who netted from close range.

Palace however equalized on the stroke of half-time when an unmarked Michael Olise brought down Jordan Ayew's cross and hammered a shot into the bottom corner past Djordje Petrovic. Chelsea had numerous chances throughout the game, and it seemed as if Mauricio Pochettino's team might suffer from their horrid finishing for a second consecutive match.

Nicolas Jackson believed he had scored in the 77th minute, poking in Thiago Silva's deep cross, but VAR ruled the forward was just offside. Chelsea finally got the break they needed in a tense finale when VAR spotted Eberechi Eze fouling substitute Madueke just inside the area which was initially ignored. The England Under-21 forward expertly sent Palace keeper Dean Henderson the wrong way from the spot in the 89th minute to secure three points and win the derby.

Suspicious managerial decisions

Ian Maatsen was given a rare Premier League start but played as the right winger, a position less favored for the more natural left-back. Pochettino persists in placing Levi Colwill at left-back, despite it being evident on Wednesday night that it's not effective. Unsurprisingly, Maatsen struggled on the right wing, proving the experimentation to be unproductive. It's not Maatsen's fault; he deserves a chance in his proper position at LB. With Chelsea already low on winger depth against Palace due to injuries and suspensions, leaving out one of the only winger available in Noni Madueke on the bench is questionable.

On the flip side, Roy Hodgson directed his side to feed balls into Olise, and it worked consistently when Colwill was on the pitch. The Cobham academy products had a one-sided battle down that flank, with Olise scoring from a set piece where Moises Caicedo and Colwill should've collaborated better. Poch eventually made the change, putting Gusto at LB to handle Olise, and it worked effectively.

No discipline in the squad

Chelsea is the leading club with the most yellow cards and is second in red cards, indicating a significant problem. CFC boasts a young squad; in fact, Pochettino announced the Blues’ youngest-ever Premier League lineup at just 23 years and 21 days. Many players are inexperienced, and it's crucial for senior players and staff, including the manager, to be role models and lead by example. However, we see Poch picking up needless yellows, having already been suspended last month. Little things such as leaving the technical box or dissent are easy to accumulate, so by maintaining composure, everything should be fine.

Unfortunately, at this club, it just isn't. For instance, in this match, Poch gets booked, and then seconds later, the captain, Conor Gallagher, also gets booked for dissent. It seems like the only yellows this squad receives are for small, petty things like dissent and kicking the ball away, which honestly frustrates me, especially when it comes from a senior player.

Malo Gusto shined

With Reece James set to miss 2-3 months of action, Malo Gusto has been given the massive task of replicating the captain’s presence performance-wise, and boy, did we get one from the young man. Gusto played a pivotal role in the buildup of Mudryk’s goal, twisting and turning his way past the Palace players. He managed to position himself on the left side of the box, where a natural left-back would be. However, since Colwill can’t do that, Gusto played two positions in one in this sequence. The former Lyon man delivered a dangerous low cross to the Ukrainian, and boom - it’s 1-0 to the Chels’.

The 20-year-old was later moved to left-back to handle Olise, who had been causing problems down the Blues’ left flank. Since the change, Olise was on mute for the duration of the derby. Malo Gusto stood out in the match, recording more successful passes (91/97) and more successful interceptions (3) than any other player from both Chelsea and Crystal Palace. Additionally, he maintained a 100% success rate in his tackles (3/3) and notched up 8 ball recoveries. A MOTM worthy performance.