Willian Scores as Chelsea Book 2-1 Premier League Win over Crystal Palace

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2018

Chelsea players celebrate their second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Saturday, March 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Chelsea were barely troubled during their Premier League outing against Crystal Palace on Saturday, as Willian scored in a 2-1 win.

The Brazilian gave the Blues the lead with a deflected effort, and an own-goal from Martin Kelly just minutes later set the Blues on the way to a comfortable win, despite a late goal from Patrick van Aanholt.

Here's a look at the teams:

Chelsea FC @ChelseaFC

Team to face Crystal Palace: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill (c); Zappacosta, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Giroud, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Ampadu, Bakayoko, Emerson, Moses, Pedro, Morata. #CHECRY https://t.co/ixZiAg5p1k

Crystal Palace F.C. @CPFC

Here's the #CPFC 🦅 team to take on @ChelseaFC this afternoon... https://t.co/VwXczK4u4U

Wayne Hennessey made the first save of the match, as N'Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud combined to find some space. Davide Zappacosta also tried his luck, but his effort didn't make it past the defender.

On the other end of the pitch, Thibaut Courtois had little to worry about initially, with an Andros Townsend volley that missed the mark the only action of note early.

Willian was given all kinds of time to line up a shot from distance and fired a little high, but he had better luck minutes later, when he was given another opportunity and watched the ball take a lucky deflection and go into the net.

Per ESPN UK, he's been on fire of late:


Five goals in five games for Willian. #CHECRY https://t.co/Xde3QpVO1Y

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Just seven minutes later, the hosts doubled their advantage. Zappacosta had his shot cleared off the line, but Kelly's clearance bounced off Hennessey and into his own net.

Football writer Dan Levene tried to describe the sequence:

Dan Levene @danlevene

Chelsea 2-0 Palace: Zappacosta with a fierce angled cross. To Martin Kelly, off Hennessey back off Kelly, and in. Does that count as both an own goal and own goal assist for Kelly?

Marcos Alonso nearly added to the advantage, prodding a shot wide after Giroud brought a cross down, and a quick free-kick routine from Cesc Fabregas didn't produce any results, as the Blues failed to make the most of their chances.

Eden Hazard had a late goal called back for offside before the whistle blew for half-time.

Palace went close to getting a goal back just minutes into the second half, as Alexander Sorloth struck the post after a mistake from Andreas Christensen.

According to football writer Nizaar Kinsella, it wasn't Christensen's first mistake:

Nizaar Kinsella @NizaarKinsella

Another Christensen mistake sees Sorloth hit the post. Messi watching at home, hoping for another gift, and he will always take it. #CHECRY #CFC

Hennessey intervened to deny Hazard after a quick break, and he did well to save a free-kick from Willian, preventing further damage. Willian continued to be involved, but Giroud could not turn his cross on target, heading over.

Giroud hit the post midway through the second half and was replaced by Alvaro Morata shortly after. The Blues had their chances to kill the match but failed to take them, and entering the final 10 minutes, the Eagles still had a chance.

Hazard blasted a shot over the bar before Sorloth thought he had pulled a goal back, only for the whistle to blow for a foul in the build-up. Van Aanholt set up some late drama by finishing off a fine team move, but there was not enough time for an equaliser.

Chelsea's next outing will be the UEFA Champions League fixture against Barcelona, while Palace take on Huddersfield.


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