Ziyech Snatches Late Win For Chelsea At Palace  (Sky Sports)

Crystal Palace 0 Chelsea 1

Hakim ZiyechHakim Ziyech's volley in the 89th-minute snatched a late 1-0 win for newly-crowned world champions Chelsea at Crystal Palace.

The game looked destined to end goalless but the Blues made it nine wins on the bounce against Palace after substitute Marcos Alonso's cross found Ziyech free at the back post to strengthen Chelsea's hold on third spot.

Thomas Tuchel's side move seven points clear of fourth-placed Manchester United, who have the chance to close that gap when they play Leeds on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League.

Tuchel felt Chelsea were at a disadvantage, having travelled from Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup, and says his players are "a bit exhausted" ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie against Lille.

"We came from 30 degrees heat and had six players with a cold from the air conditioning on the plane, guys coming from the jet lag that they had in Abu Dhabi," Tuchel said, after his side claimed back-to-back league wins for the first time since October.

"There was no player who slept well in Abu Dhabi because of the temperature and the time difference."

Ziyech thought he had scored for Chelsea 15 minutes before his winning goal, finishing from close-range after Romelu Lukaku's parried effort fell for him in the area only for VAR to show the Belgium striker to be offside.

Wilfried Zaha had two big chances - one to open the scoring at the end of the first half and the other to equalise deep in the second - but fired both opportunities wide as Palace's wait for a first league win of the year goes on.

Chelsea came close through Christian Pulisic and N'Golo Kante in the first half, but their finishing let them down. Pulisic hit a sliding effort over the bar, while Kante fired it straight at Palace goalkeeper Vincente Guaita after being played through on goal by Malang Sarr.

Defender Antonio Rudiger also nearly put Chelsea in front, his 35-yard effort destined for the top corner, before a diving save from Guaita, who came off at half-time with a knee injury.

Opta stats

Chelsea have won back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since October, when they won four in a row.

Crystal Palace have lost each of their last nine matches against Chelsea in the Premier League.

Chelsea have kept 37 clean sheets in 70 matches in all competitions under Thomas Tuchel, more than any other Premier League side since the German's first match in charge last January.

Crystal Palace have lost three consecutive home matches in the Premier League for the first time since July 2020, with the second match in that run coming against Chelsea.

Michael Olise also threatened in the first half, but his left-foot shot from inside the area - after Zaha switched the ball - was inches away from creeping inside Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy's post.

Palace are now eight points clear of the relegation zone after Watford closed the gap with a win at Aston Villa. The Eagles have gone six matches without a win in the Premier League - their worst run since 2020.

Lukaku fails to perform, as Ziyech delivers again

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel said Lukaku deserved more time to meet expectations ahead of this game, but the club-record signing's performance will have done little to ease the ill-feeling toward him among Blues fans.

His seven touches at Selhurst Park - one of which was from the kick-off in the first half - is the fewest in a single Premier League game for a player who has played the full 90 minutes since this data became available in 2003/04.

When asked about Lukaku's performance and the stat, Tuchel said: "I am not so sure if I have a good answer to your question. I don't know what it says.

"It says he was obviously not involved and could not make a point. I am not sure if it says so much about us in general."

There was hope Luaku's two goals in a successful Club World Cup campaign in Abu Dhabi would have lifted his performances in the Premier League, but his only real involvement in Saturday's game - a shot that was parried to Ziyech - was later ruled offside by VAR.

Lukaku's five goals in 17 league appearances this season is not enough for a £97.5m striker.

Ziyech is certainly doing a good job of covering over the cracks for Chelsea. He has now scored in three consecutive league games for the first time since 2019 - when he was still an Ajax player.

How did Palace fare without Gallagher?

Saturday's game against Chelsea was a good opportunity to see how head coach Patrick Vieira is planning for life after Conor Gallagher, who was unavailable against his parent club, and is almost certain to be playing elsewhere next season.

Vieira opted to deploy Olise as the No 10 behind Zaha as a striker, with Jeffrey Schlupp and Jordan Ayew on either flank. They were backed up by returning midfielders Cheikhou Kouyate and James McArthur, to make up for the loss of Gallagher's work-rate in midfield.

It worked really well for large parts of the game, with Olise and Zaha combining on numerous occasions across the ground to open Chelsea up and create some good chances to score. But there was a lack of aerial threat, with Zaha often looking isolated up front.

Eberechi Eze came on for the final five minutes of the game. It will be interesting to see how he fits into Vieira's system, with the playmaker having had little chance to feature this season, as he is eased back from an Achilles problem. Although there are doubts about his future, with Newcastle linked with a big-money move for Eze in the summer.

Tuchel: We're a bit exhausted

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel:

"We look a bit drained, a bit exhausted, and you can see everybody tries hard. Everybody is looking for the flow where you try hard but nobody sees you are trying hard.

"We are looking for it but in this moment we struggle, which is not a bad thing because everybody wants to be part of it and everybody gives their best but we do struggle a bit. For that it is important to win and keep a clean sheet so we keep on going.

"If you think we have a normal week to prepare, I can tell you it is not like this.

"It's a huge, strange mix of a lot of reasons why I personally did not over-expect today performance-wise. Then we had some issues yesterday in training that meant Azpi and Callum went out from training. So this is where we are and it is like this.

"I know that we can play better, I know that we want to play better. We were at least solid defensively, we were disciplined.

"We told the team at half-time not to lose faith and to keep on going like in a cup game, maybe this one chance will come again and it is decisive. Keep on believing, don't do crazy stuff and don't take risks to allow transitions for the opponent."

Vieira: Frustrating to lose like that

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira:

"It was frustrating to concede the goal like that at the end. We knew we needed to defend well as a team for 95 minutes and I think we did it quite well.

"It just shows the quality of the teams of Chelsea and how important it is to keep concentration higher for all the game but we didn't.

"To get punished like this is hard for the players to take."

What's next?

Chelsea are back in Champions League action on Tuesday when they host Lille at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of their last-16 tie; kick-off 8pm. After that, the Blues face Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday (February 27), live on Sky Sports; kick-off 4.30pm.

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace travel to Burnley in the Premier League on Wednesday; kick-off 7.30pm.


Crystal Palace Guaita (Butland 46), Clyne, Guehi, Andersen, Mitchell, McArthur (c) (Mateta 90+2), Kouyate, Schlupp, Olise, Ayew (Eze 85), Zaha
Subs Not Used Adaramola, Kelly, Hughes, Milivojevic, Benteke, Edouard
Booked Olise

Chelsea Mendy, Christensen, Silva, Rudiger, Pulisic, Kante (Kovacic 74), Jorginho (c) (Loftus-Cheek 74), Sarr (Alonso 74), Ziyech, Lukaku, Havertz
Subs Not Used Kepa, Chalobah, Saul, Kenedy, Vale, Werner
Booked Sarr, Havertz, Pulisic
Goals Ziyech 89

Attendance 25,109

Referee David Coote

VAR Michael Oliver