EPL

Chelsea 1-0 Crystal Palace: Havertz header eases pressure on Potter as Stamford Bridge introduced to Mudryk

By Sports Desk January 15, 2023

Kai Havertz eased the pressure on Chelsea boss Graham Potter as his second-half header secured a slender 1-0 Premier League win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The Blues, who announced the £89million signing of Ukraine international Mykhaylo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk during the first half, had lost seven of their previous nine games in all competitions before the visit of Patrick Vieira's side.

They were far from convincing against a spirited Eagles outfit, but claimed a precious three points courtesy of Havertz's 64th-minute header.

Despite the win, Chelsea remain 10th in the Premier League, with Palace two places back in 12th.

Palace started with a spring in their step and twice went close shortly before the midway point of the first half as Tyrick Mitchell and Michael Olise were denied by smart saves from Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Chelsea improved as the half wore on and they spurned two glorious quick-fire chances, Kai Havertz heading over from eight yards and Lewis Hall flashing wide after an incisive break.

Both goalkeepers made important stops during a frantic period of stoppage time at the end of the first half as Kepa pawed away Jeffrey Schlupp's header and Vicente Guaita tipped over Hakim Ziyech's powerful drive at the other end.

Ziyech was the provider for Chelsea's goal as his superb whipped cross from the left was headed home by Havertz from six yards. 

Havertz inexplicably headed wide of a gaping goal with 10 minutes remaining, but it mattered little in the end as Chelsea held on for a precious win.


What does it mean? Blues continue fine run over Palace

Potter could perhaps not have asked for more favourable opponents than Palace to try and turn Chelsea's season around, given they had beaten the Eagles in their previous 10 Premier League meetings.  

This latest win against their London rivals will surely buy the former Brighton and Hove Albion manager some time, and with the exciting Mudryk to integrate into the team, this might just be the start of a more favourable period for the Blues.

Havertz heads home

Havertz was comfortably Chelsea's biggest threat and he once again proved his prowess in the air. Since the start of last season, only Harry Kane (11) has scored more headed goals in the Premier League than the Germany international (six).

Chukwuemeka off the pace

Carney Chukwuemeka struggled on his first Premier League start of the season. The former Aston Villa man had just one shot, which was blocked, and failed to make a single key pass before he was replaced in the 63rd minute.

What's next?

Palace host Manchester United on Wednesday, before another home game against Newcastle United on Saturday – the same day Chelsea visit Liverpool. 

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