Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace – Match Reports, Reaction and Video

Match reports

The Observer, David Hytner: “Chelsea did little to quicken the pulses and when they reflect upon a victory that was chiselled from Crystal Palace, their only real source of assurance will come from a glance at the Premier League table. It shows them sitting prettily in second place, two points off Arsenal’s pace. Their next league fixture is at the Emirates on 23 December. This was anything but pretty. Chelsea got what they needed yet it was not the antidote to their recent toils. So many of their big-name players were curiously off-key. It is rather stating the obvious but title-winning teams surely have to be better than this”

The Sunday Telegraph, Oliver Brown: “Jose Mourinho flounced and fulminated in his technical area like a dervish, suggesting none too subtly that this narrowest of victories over Crystal Palace was hardly a performance worthy of prospective champions. While Chelsea edged into second place on Saturday night, two points behind Arsenal, there is only so far they can advance on obduracy alone. Of particular concern was the display by Fernando Torres: granted, he scored the opening goal, but it was scarcely more than a tap-in and his impact elsewhere proved so negligible that it was difficult to believe his team could continue this winter with such a mercurial talent as their solitary target man. At one point the agitated Mourinho had to be admonished by fourth official Lee Mason for kicking a red bag full of medical equipment. It was that type of afternoon, as maddening for the manager as it was for home fans, restless for their lavishly gifted players to dispatch Palace with greater flourish.”

The Independent on Sunday, Steve Tongue: “While statistically nothing like the goalfest at the Etihad, which took Manchester City briefly ahead of Chelsea in the table, this was an equally open game between two sides supposed to be a world apart in ambition and ability. As the result, uncertain until the end, was also a home win, Jose Mourinho’s side went second, two points behind Arsenal, who they play a week tomorrow. It seemed impossible that the second half could remain scoreless as the ball fizzed from end to end, above all in a manic last few minutes. But Palace, invigorated under their new manager Tony Pulis, could not force an equaliser and Chelsea, well below their best, wasted the chances to apply a flattering gloss to the scoreline.”

The Official Chelsea FC Website: “A fiercely-contested London derby was settled by Ramires’s stunning first-half strike, moving us to within two points of leaders Arsenal. Fernando Torres had given us the lead with 15 minutes played, turning home a loose ball after Willian’s shot hit the post, but an impressive Palace side struck back through Marouane Chamakh. Ramires restored our advantage soon after, stroking home from the edge of the box, and it was a lead we hung on to despite some nervy second-half moments. We had some opportunities of our own to extend the lead but no further goals meant a fourth win in five league outings for the Blues. The three points could prove even more pivotal ahead of our next Premier League clash, away to Arsenal, who lost at Manchester City today.”


16′ Torres 1-0
29′ Chamakh 1-1
35′ Ramires 2-1

Managers’ reaction

Jose Mourinho: “I was expecting an easy victory or big problems. I was ready for both things.

“When Palace sit back, compact, they are very well organised by Tony [Pulis]. They wait for the right moment to put a long ball into the box and fight for the first and second ball, I know that they are dangerous.

“When I was reading the game and analysing the situation I was feeling the game could go in both directions. For me this result could have been 5-1 or it could be 2-2.

“It is this club’s nature and DNA to try to fight for trophies. It’s my way of working too. It’s the mentality we want the players to have. We all know this is a transitional period, we all know we have just a few players from the winning side of the past, and we all know we have lots of young talent to improve.

“In another club, with a different profile, everybody would say let’s work and wait calmly, the results will come in the near future, but we are not like that.

“We want to build but at the same time we want to fight for titles and at the moment in the Premier League we are there, two points behind the leader.”

Tony Pulis: “To be in the game for 94 minutes is testament to the commitment and the effort. The important thing is that the lads keep believing that we have got a chance and that we keep playing with that spirit and commitment.

“I thought when we got it to Chamakh we played some good stuff, Chamakh slows it down for us, gets a pass off and gives us time to get runners up the pitch.

“Yannick Bolasie came on and was a threat, Jason Puncheon was a threat and Cameron Jerome was smashing. There’s a threat there.

“The lads have bought into what we’re trying to do. The most important thing is to galvanise a spirit within a football club.”

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There are 27 comments

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  1. Cunningplan

    Drogba has scored 7 goals in all competitions for his club so far this season, Torres has scored the same.

    Doesn’t look like we’re missing much does it?

    • Blue_MikeL

      How did you get to number 7 Clive?
      Fernando Torres (17 games, six goals this season)
      Demba Ba (13, three)
      Samuel Eto’o (15, 4)
      Eden Hazard (21, 8)
      Juan Mata (15, one)
      Oscar (21, six)
      Andre Schurrle (18, three)
      Kevin De Bruyne (eight, none)
      Willian (14, one)

      • Cunningplan

        “How did you get to number 7 Clive?”

        By subscribing to Mark’s online “Creative Accounting Course” 😉

  2. Blueboydave

    I know a win is always a win, but my main feeling afterwards was of dissatisfaction at another pretty mediocre performance against a very ordinary team.

    But then I watched the Spuds’ game yesterday and got a vivid reminder of what disastrously mediocre really looks like.

    Come on though, admit it – we’ll all miss AVB’s convoluted management-speak bollocks, really.

  3. WorkingClassPost

    Living with a CR postcode (otherwise known as ‘within the Palace grounds’ I had a different perspective on this game, and was well pleased with three points for us and continued improvement for them.

    Jose’s comment about 5-1 or 2-2 is about right and if the whole squad would take the opposition that seriously we could probably expect a few less unpleasant surprises than we’ve been prone to.

    Pullis has done a good job, and they were set up to hold us and then exploit any space left at the end a la Stoke, so a win was a decent result as far as I’m concerned. Arse will be a very different matter, and anyone picked to play at Sunderland should take their opportunity to impress if they want a chance to run out at the Emirates.

  4. Blue_MikeL

    Absolutely toothless in attack and completely fragile in defense. WTF! The only consolation is that it is Mickey Mouse Cup.

  5. WorkingClassPost

    With my new PC access I’ve been searching the webnet all day for the DVD called ‘How to beat Chelsea for Dummies’. It’s not on sale yet, but someone must have copies and sent them out to a few of this season’s opponents, because it’s becoming too regular, and too easy for them.

    One of the first tips is to wait for us to get bored, then attack us with gusto – works nearly every time.

  6. Stewmattaylor

    Wot no Podcast?? 🙁 🙁 I’m in dire need of humorous entertaining (mainly of the usual Gallows variety) during this mammoth 6 day break before venturing alcoholically through Stokey to our denouement at the Effeminates…

  7. WorkingClassPost

    Following their recent lack of trophies, rumour has it that Arse will be mounting a big sign ‘League Leaders for a couple of months 2013’ to show the world that success hasn’t completely evaded them.

  8. Ramone

    We have played 5 of 7 teams in the top 8 away from home and are 2 points off top. We have won our Champions League group. The trend is looking up albeit we have had a few bumps in the road.

    In the grand scheme of things we mustn’t grumble.

    Merry Christmas and a happy boxing day.

  9. limetreebower

    We’re (almost) as rubbish as usual in November and December, but, as José pointed out, we’re only two points behind instead of being completely out of it already.

    The man’s a genius, no doubt about it. Let’s hope he can set the team up to do the same kind of smothering job on Suarez.

    • Blue_MikeL

      In words of Jose:
      “We are completely alive, especially if you compare it with this point last season where Chelsea were 11 points behind.”

  10. limetreebower

    Well. Not what I was expecting at all. What a gratifying surprise, to turn up a near-complete team performance like that in the middle of our winter doldrums.

    The slightly surprising selections (Cahill, Luiz in defensive midfield, Willian, Eto’o) were all outstandingly good.

    The ‘Poo were made to look surprisingly toothless despite Sterling and Coutinho making dangerous gestures all the time. Gestures were all they were.

    A real Mourinho performance (after the first couple of minutes of course). Very encouraging. Of course we looked utterly spent after about 60 minutes, but so did they, and the work had all been done by then.

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