Chelsea 1 – 0 Crystal Palace
Chelsea 1 – 0 Crystal Palace. A thumping header from Kai Havertz earned Chelsea a narrow victory over Crystal Palace to ease the pressure on manager Graham Potter.
Havertz met Hakim Ziyech’s cross shortly after an hour as the Blues ended a run of three successive defeats in all competitions.
The Germany striker should have doubled Chelsea’s advantage but could only flash a header wide from close range from Mason Mount’s cross.
Palace came close to equalising late on when Cheick Doucoure’s long-range volley was spectacularly tipped over by Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Chelsea stays 10th despite the win, just their second in 10 Premier League games, but are now level on points with ninth-placed Liverpool.
Palace is 12th after a fifth defeat in six games in all competitions.
This was far from a convincing performance by Chelsea but the relief was palpable at the final whistle as they avoided the ignominy of losing four successive matches in all competitions for the first time in 30 years.
The goal arrived when Palace lost concentration from a corner allowing Conor Gallagher to play the ball short to Ziyech, whose curling cross was buried past Vicente Guaita by Havertz for his sixth goal of the season.
Chelsea had struggled for many clear-cut openings up to that stage, with Havertz heading over and Lewis Hall flashing a first-time shot across goal during a tame first half.
Havertz glanced wide from Mount’s dangerous cross and substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shot straight at Guaita as Chelsea threatened a second.
Thiago Silva then made several key defensive headers in stoppage time as the Blues clung on during nine nervy minutes of stoppage time.
The west London club have also been boosted by the arrival of Ukraine forward Mykhailo Mudryk, who was paraded on the pitch at half-time after confirmation of his transfer from Shakhtar Donetsk.
Palace has just one win in seven games in all competitions since the post-World Cup resumption, with manager Patrick Vieira admitting there was a “challenging mood” around the club before this game.
Vieira could not fault his players’ commitment at Stamford Bridge but will rue a lapse in concentration for Havertz’s goal and a lack of cutting-edge up front.
Tyrick Mitchell and Jeffrey Schlupp forced Kepa into two smart stops during the first half but the visitors faded as an attacking threat after the break.
Their only other opportunity of note was a long-range effort from Doucoure that was tipped over by the Chelsea goalkeeper late on.
There were emotional scenes before kick-off as Chelsea paid tribute to their former player and manager Gianluca Vialli in their first home game since his death at the age of 58 earlier this month.
Chelsea’s players warmed up wearing training kits with ‘Vialli 9’ on the back and also stepped out onto the pitch wearing Chelsea kits bearing his name.
Two huge banners in tribute to the Italian were unfurled at either end of Stamford Bridge before a number of his former teammates joined the current players in the centre circle for a minute’s applause before kick-off.
In Other News – Wolves 1 – 0 West Ham United
Wolves climbed out of the relegation zone for the first time in three months and dumped West Ham in the bottom three to increase the pressure on manager David Moyes.
Daniel Podence scored the only goal when he drove home Matheus Nunes’ cross three minutes after half-time.
Despite a summer outlay of £160m, West Ham has collected a single point from their past seven games before a meeting with Moyes’ old club and fellow underachievers Everton at London Stadium next Saturday.
Moyes went to applaud the visiting supporters at the end but the reaction from many was negative. learn more
source – BBC