It was quite rude of Chelsea not to tell any of its followers that it wasn’t going to show up Saturday against Crystal Palace. Whoever played in their place against Crystal Palace does not belong in London, and for that matter doesn’t really belong in the Premier League.
Any negative term for a football club can apply to Chelsea after the 2-1 loss on Saturday. Seriously, they were weak, unbalanced, slow, unfocused, dull, laughable, inept. You could play 20 games of Scrabble and still come up with words to describe Chelsea’s poor play.
Put this into perspective, the reigning Premier League champs just lost to the last place team in the Premier League. This is a team that struggled to beat Huddersfield three weeks ago, and an argument could be made that Chelsea only had to block Wilfried Zaha to win this game.
Chelsea was embarrassed on Saturday and almost every single person has a part to blame.
Here’s a player by player look at the Chelsea XI.
Defense continues to look bad
David Luiz continues his absolutely atrocious play by allowing Palace forwards Andros Townsend and Zaha free entry into the Chelsea box over and over again. The only surprise from Luiz’s play was that Gary Cahill did not bail him out of trouble as he was too busy being behind the ball and ignoring his captain duties.
Antonio Conte gets a strike here as he wrongly showed confidence in Luiz after a three-match suspension, instead of playing either Antonio Rudiger or Andreas Christensen who have both had strong outings as of late and would have been able to keep up with Zaha much better than the aforementioned.
Unfortunately Azpilicueta gets a knock here as he scored an own goal and unusually looked out of sorts and lost on the day.
The poor defense made another good performance by Thibaut Courtois go to waste.
Midfield has decent game with unlucky bounces and injuries aplenty
Credit has to be given to Cesc Fabregas who had a great corner assist and a shot that just curved above the goal post which could have allowed Chelsea to walk away with a draw. He tried his best, if only the same could be said about others. By far the best player for Chelsea on the day.
Tiemoue Bakayoko also had a decent game with a goal but didn’t do much else, good news though is that this could be a confidence builder and lead to more strong outings by Bakayoko.
Marcus Alonso also should have scored for the midfield but now will show up on Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni‘s short highlight reel after an outstanding shot was met by an outstanding and unlikely save. He could have done more but does not deserve the bulk of the blame. He does stand out though due to the absence of Midfielder N’Golo Kante, Chelsea needed Alonso to step up and elevate the players around him with Kante out
More bad news for the Chelsea midfield as Kante was sorely missed in the game and could miss another week and is now joined on injury by Victor Moses who left with a hamstring injury after having a non-impact day.
Where is the offense?
Three offensive players played their worst game ever in a Chelsea kit.
Willian was atrocious. Nothing could be said in the positive but his negatives were a clear lack of his usual speed, with absolute blame going to him on the Zaha goal after he lost possession to Mamadou Sakho. It’s a surprise Conte left him in past half time considering the way he was playing.
Hazard wasted his start by what could only be said as a Mesut Özil lack of care for the outcome of the game. He could have played hero in this one thanks to a great inbound corner from Davide Zappacosta.
Batshuayi perhaps should be the most disappointing, given the start due to injury to Alvaro Morata Conte surprisingly put his trust into the forward and he did not. Simply did not have an impact on the game. A rare appearance by Charly Musonda can be put into this category as well.
Zappacosta and Pedro were the only two bright spots on the Chelsea offensive side. Both had great amount of pace in the game and each provided some nice passes for their teammates to capitalize on. Zappacosta will assumingly get more starts due to Willian’s injury, he has certainly deserved it.
Where does Chelsea go from here?
No Premier League team has ever dropped three of its first eight and crowned champions. Chelsea will, by no exaggeration, have to be perfect for the rest of the season if they wish to finish in first place. With all the injuries and the confusion Conte seems to be showing with the positioning of his players that just doesn’t seem a remote possibility.
Chelsea is missing right now, and the only thing they seem prepared for is to be lost for a long time.