Chelsea 2-1 Palace

2
1
Torres (16), Ramires (35)
Chamakh (29)
Sat 14th December 2013
Stamford Bridge
Att: 
41,608
Atmosphere
9
Performance
8

Despite defeat for Crystal Palace at Chelsea the revival continued for Tony Pulis’ men. A comfortable home win was expected at Stamford Bridge only for the Eagles to take the game to Chelsea, finishing the match feeling disappointed not to claim a point. 

Fernando Torres scored after just sixteen minutes, tapping home after Speroni had turned a Willian shot onto the post, and many expected the floodgates to open. What happened was the complete opposite. Palace broke away and Marouane Chamakh swept home a Joel Ward centre to score for the third game running, for the first time in his career.

Parity lasted just six minutes as Ramirez lashed home a shot from twenty yards and Chelsea took their one goal lead into the break.

"Speroni pulled off a world class double save."

More goals seemed to be on the menu for the second half, yet some great goalkeeping, poor finishing and a goal line clearance led to a goalless second half. Damien Delaney was guilty of missing three headed chances for Palace, with Bolaise also missing with his head, whilst Ramires, late on, connected poorly when through on goal. Speroni pulled off a world class double save to deny Chelsea late on as Palace pushed for the equaliser and left space in behind and Cech had to be at his best to deny Jason Puncheon.

The big moment of the second half, however, was a John Terry goal line clearance. Stuart O’Keefe, who replaced the injured Dikgacoi in the first half, got on to the end of a Cameron Jerome cross and slotted the ball past Cech only for Terry to clear off the line with a desperate slide. The ball then fell back to O’Keefe and this time Ivanovic managed to get his body in the way.

Resurgent Palace

“This game could have been 5-1 or just as easily 2-2” said Jose Mourinho after the game. I understand his sentiment, however, despite the late flurry of Chelsea chances, only allowed as Palace threw everyone forward in search of the equaliser, 2-2 was the far more likely score line as chance after chance fell to the visitors.

Often when playing against the big teams, you can feel like you’re in the game yet deep down you know that the big team can go through the gears if they need to and easily take the game away from you. Yesterday was different. There were no more gears for Chelsea on this day. This is why I pinpoint the O’Keefe chance as the biggest moment of the match. If his shot finds a way past the sliding John Terry, who’s to say that we don’t actually go on and nick all three points? Even in the face of a very 'home team' performance from referee, Mark Clattenberg.

"Just a few short weeks ago talk of getting anything at Chelsea would have seemed farcical."

Just a few short weeks ago talk of getting anything at Chelsea would have seemed farcical, yet here we are suggesting that we deserved at least a point out of the game, with “The Happy One” somewhat agreeing with our assessment, and the presses assessment, of the game.

The worst team in Premier League history, they said. Look at us now, I say.

Marouane Chamakh

Another fantastic performance from the Moroccan. With goals in three straight games, the first time he has achieved this feat in his career, Chamakh has forced the world to re-evaluate their opinions of him. 

"Once again he showed his technical brilliance."

Once again he showed his technical brilliance, his superb ability to hold the ball up and find a pass at the end of it and his ability to find the back of the net. What is even more impressive is that he is able to do all of this alongside defending stoically for his team. I am not talking about defending in his own eighteen yard box, but in and around the half way line where his pressing manages to stop many attacks before they even begin.

I was on LBC Radio after the game on Saturday and I forced the presenter to retract his comments that he made after the Norwich game when I spoke to him. “When I am wrong I hold my hands up. Terence you were right and I was wrong.”

The below graphic compares Marouane to Fernando Torres. Stacks up well against one of the most expensive strikers of all time.

He scores when he wants! He scores when he waaaaants!
Marouane Chamakh, he scores when he wants!

 

Man of the Match: Joel Ward

In a week that many people, admittedly Palace linked, have been talking about Joel Ward getting an England call up he produced yet another top performance. Even more impressive was that he was again forced to left back due to the injury of Moxey.

All that has been missing from his play has been an attacking element. This was not the case against Chelsea. He managed to get around Puncheon on an overlap and produced the cross, with his weaker left foot, for Chamakh to score.

Is he good enough for England? He has all of the attributes to be an international full back. He has pace, strength, aerial ability and is comfortable on the ball. Then there is the fact that right back is one of England’s weakest positions. Walker is inconsistent and Johnson is just awful in my opinion. With some of the players that have been getting chances under Hodgson, Ward certainly deserves a crack at international level. 

Who knows, maybe we’ll have a Palace player at the World Cup representing England.

Atmosphere

“Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic fans. They support their team to the end. They pushed them all the way” said Mourinho.  

Much like the playing resources at Palace are no match for the likes of Chelsea, Chelsea’s fans were no match for the travelling support of Crystal Palace. The Bridge was comprehensively our sung and embarrassed off the pitch and, almost, on it.

Up Next: Newcastle

A game from which I have no idea what to expect. Newcastle are clearly the form team in the Premier League at the moment so it will clearly be a tough match. But at Selhurst Park we should fear no one and as a result, points are not beyond us in this match.

Come on you Palace!

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