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Chelsea vs Crystal Palace 21/22

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well and had a great weekend!

The Premier League is back, and finally with fans! On Saturday 14th of August Crystal Palace’s Premier League campaign began, with a trip away to Stamford Bridge to face our London rivals Chelsea. Myself and my stepdad managed to get tickets to the full capacity stadium, it felt strange but also amazing to be surrounded by 38,000+ football fans after so long.

This was my second time at the Bridge to watch Palace away, but this time we were facing the Champions League current champions, because of this as a Palace fan I went into the game with minimal expectation, but still hoped for a good day and was excited to see how we played under the new manager. I don’t live too far from the stadium, so we travelled up and got dropped off around 2.15, kick off was at 3pm, there were a few specs of traffic but overall, the journey was smooth (I spend most of it watching Manchester United as Jadon made his debut😊). Mum managed to get us to a side road, so we didn’t have too far to walk, last time we entered through the main gate at the front which was pretty hectic as we mixed with all the fans, but this time the road led us straight to the Shed End where the away fans were allocated. Our seat was on a raised platform a few metres from the corner flag, so we had a great view of the whole pitch; similarly to most stadiums the carer seat was place behind the wheelchair, so my step dad had to stand the whole time to be near me, I’m not entirely sure why they’re designed like this and much prefer the seat to be adjacent to the wheelchair seat.

Before the game there was a minute silence to remember all those that lost their lives during Covid. Patrick Viera in his opening Premier League game as Palace manager, named Marc Guehi in his starting line-up, giving him his Palace Premier League debut against his boyhood club.

Chelsea started the game very strong dominating possession, their first real chance came early on as Alonso was given time to cross the ball into an unmarked Pulisic, but thankfully his header was straight into Guaita’s hands. Palace were really struggling to get out of their own defensive half the whole game, but despite this the Palace fans still continued to show their support, being continuously loud and proud. Whenever Chelsea had corners Mason Mount came over to take them, my inner England fan was very happy to see him, but it had to stay discreet while supporting his opposition. In the 27th minute Chelsea picked up a free kick around 20yards out after Mitchell fouled Mount, this was one of many on the day, from a Palace perspective it felt like the ref was on Chelsea’s side as the majority of the decisions went their way. Both Alonso and Mount stood over the ball to take the free kick, and the first Premier League goal came from the left foot of Alonso whipping the ball into the top left of the goal; Guatita didn’t even move to attempt to make a save. After this Chelsea dominated the half, creating chance after chance, we really struggled to handle the constant pressure and quality Chelsea had. Palace gave away to many sloppy free kicks but thankfully we weren’t punished from any of these again. In the 40th minute Chelsea centre back Christensen was given lots of time at the back with no Palace pressure, he was able to spread the ball out to Mount on the wing, who played a simple 1-2 around Mitchel before whipping the ball into the box finding Werner at the near post, his attempt was saved by Guaita, but he only palmed it back into the path of Pulisic who could finally put the ball into the back of the net. Guaita seemed to be caught in two minds, the better option would’ve been to catch the ball from the initial shot from Werner, but it was now 2-0 to Chelsea. This was the final piece of action for the first half.

During half time my stepdad had some food from the bar, this is the first stadium I had been to that didn’t serve alcohol to away fans, they obviously didn’t trust drunk Palace fans 😅.

For the second half Palace were shooting towards the away fans, so we were hoping to somehow motivate them. Palace had an early free kick which was delivered by Riedeward, but it went out of play. Chelsea went straight up the other end and Alonso nearly scored his second after Jorginho picked him out in the box, but Guaita kept it out with a strong hand at the front post. Palace had a huge chance in the 58th minute as Ayew finds Zaha down the right-hand side with a beautiful view through the centre, as a Palace fan the excitement always builds when Wilf’s on the ball. He cut inside into a 1v1 with Rudiger, he decided to take it back out and shoot with his right foot, but it was blocked by the Chelsea defender and eventually put behind for our first corner of the game. The corner was taken by Riedeward and was headed back into the path of Schlupp from the back post, but he was only able to fire it over the bar. The first palace substitutions of the game came in the 57th minute with Benteke and new signing Andersen replacing Mateta and Schlupp; I was pretty surprised to see Mateta starting over Benteke giving the fact he has been scoring for both the first team and u23 games he’s appeared in. In the 58th minute after some very poor closing down from Palace, Chelsea academy graduate Chalobah was able to make it 3-0 on his Premier League debut, he was given so much time in the middle of the pitch he could take the necessary touches and smash the ball into the back of the net from 35 yards out. It was a great goal, but it could have been easily prevented from a Palace perspective. It was now 3-0 and Palace’s chances of a comeback were over. It wasn’t till the 63rd minute that we actually registered our first shot on target, it came from a corner onto the head of McArthur, but the attempt was tame and comfortably saved by Mendy, he had a pretty straightforward job this game. Our third and final sub came in the 76th with 18-year-old Rak-Sakyi coming on in replace of Riedeward; this was the youngsters senior Premier League debut for Palace, so it was a nice way to end the game on a positive. During his time on the pitch Rak-Sakyi took the free-kicks showing the trust the manager must have in him, he also looked very direct when on the ball so hopefully he will be learning from Wilf in training.

The match ended 3-0 to Chelsea and wasn’t the way we would’ve wanted to start the campaign. It is slightly concerning the lack of squad depth we have at the moment with players out injured, so I’m hoping we are able to bring in some more players to cover this, because by the end Viera seemed to be out of ideas and we can’t improve this way.

Match stats:

• Palace had a total of 38.3 % possession, Chelsea had 61.7%

• Palace had a total of 4 shots with 1 on target.

• Chelsea had 13 shots with 6 on target.

Our next game is Brentford at home on Saturday I am attending so look out for my next post.

Thank you for reading

Ellie x


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