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Player Ratings: Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea | Premier League

Chelsea edged past Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

Fresh off the back of becoming world champions, the Blues arrived back to domestic action showing all of the signs of a intercontinental hangover. It was sluggish, uninventive and, in truth, a fortunate three points.

It was a cagey start to proceedings with opportunities few and far between. A spectacular effort from distance from Antonio Rudiger aside, the best chances fell to the impressive Michael Olise and Wilfried Zaha for the hosts - with Edouard Mendy fortunate on both occasions to watch the ball flash inches wide of his far post.

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Thomas Tuchel must have been thanking his lucky stars that his side went in at the break level, having seen his men disjointed and dispirited in the main. It was clear that a stark and marked improvement was needed if the visitors were to return to West London with the victory.

That improvement did not come. The home side came out strong, first to every ball and showing plenty of battle and energy. Chelsea however stole the win when Hakim Ziyech came in at the back post to meet Marcos Alonso's cross and rifle home.

This was a shambolic showing from the Kings of the King's Road, but a win is a win. Up next for the Pensioners is the first leg of their last 16 tie against LOSC Lille in the Champions League. Until then, here is how Absolute Chelsea rated the Blues’ performance against Crystal Palace...


Edouard Mendy - 6/10

The Senegalese giant was rarely worked in spite of Crystal Palace's relative joy getting at the Blues backline. Distribution was spotty at the offset. A quiet afternoon.

Andreas Christensen - 6/10

Deployed in an unfamiliar right-back position and had a torrid time of it in the early going, as he was caught out often by the ball over the top and Wilfried Zaha had him on strings. Imposed himself more as the fixture wore on.

Thiago Silva - 8/10

'O Monstro' was immaculate at the heart of the Chelsea defence once more, completely comfortable in the face of a fresh and pacey Palace phalanx.

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Antonio Rüdiger - 8/10

Followed up a man of the match performance in the Club World Cup final with a similarly formidable showing. Almost bagged the long-range screamer he's been threatening for the last twelve months or so, if not for the fingertips of Vicente Guatia. Absolute rock at the back, as is par for the course for the German.

Malang Sarr - 6/10

Quite a raw performance from the young Frenchman. Showed some decent endeavour going forward and found fair success with progressive passes into the half spaces, but his defending was naïve on far too frequent an occasion.

Jorginho - 6/10

Swamped in the engine room but handled the task adequately. Tough task for the Italian to pick out non-existent teammates in space ahead.

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N'Golo Kanté - 5/10

Seemed to be playing alongside Romelu Lukaku for large swathes of this one. An intriguing tactic, but not one that bore fruit. The decorated Frenchman has been more hindrance than help to this Chelsea side as of late, with his recoveries found lacking and his lesser-lauded offensive contribution being impotent. It was more of the same here.

Hakim Ziyech - 8/10

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. The magician from Morocco was full of sporadic flashes of brilliance and delicious deliveries when it came his way. Cut a frustrated figure, and it is hard to blame him when his colleagues are not on his wavelength so often, but nonetheless got the winning goal his tireless efforts deserved.

Christian Pulisic - 4/10

The Eagles' nemesis was rewarded with a start in an advanced position after his lively efforts against Palmeiras. The man they call 'Captain America' displayed some neat deftness of feet here and there, but found space and options hard to come by in a 'hole' densely populated by a sea of red and blue. Had a pretty torrid second period.

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Kai Havertz - 4/10

A difficult day at the office on the left flank for Chelsea's world cup winning goalscorer. Seemed to spend more time dribbling back towards his own box, with Nathaniel Clyne doing well to snuff out any attempts to run in behind. At least covered more ground and pressed more than those around him.

Romelu Lukaku - 2/10

This writer does not wish to be rude but 'absolute non-entity' is the only way to describe the Belgian on the day. He had registered two touches of the ball by half-time - two touches of the ball in 2,700 seconds of a wet and windy British afternoon - and there was hardly a glut thereafter either. The service was appalling, but so was the movement of Chelsea's record transfer, who took up a comfy residence in the pockets of Joachim Andersen and former Blue Marc Guehi for the afternoon. Six of one and half a dozen of the other, the Lukaku conundrum remains unfathomable.


Bench

Mateo Kovacic - 6/10 [73]

A pretty quiet cameo all told, with proceedings passing the Croat by.

Marcos Alonso  - 7/10 [73]

Comes in for a lot of criticism, but his contribution on the wing was game-changing. His cross for the goal was excellent. 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek - 5/10 [73]

Looked pretty rusty after injury, and was a shave off the pace up against Palace's runners.


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