A Christian Pulisic brace helped a dominant Chelsea side to a 4-1 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The 22-year-old scored in each half, in addition to goals by Kai Havertz and Kurt Zouma. Christian Benteke scored a consolation for the South Londoners midway through the second half.
Havertz was excellent and contributed to two goals inside 10 minutes. The German was denied by Vicente Guaita after meeting Mason Mount’s cross but won back possession from Ebere Eze, took a stride forward and finished low into the corner to hand the visitors the lead on eight minutes.
Two minutes later, Havertz fed Pulisic into the left channel and the American thumped an effort high into the roof of the net.
Havertz had not scored an away Premier League goal before this game but nearly had a second following a wonderful piece of skill. The 21-year-old nonchalantly lifted the ball over Gary Cahill on the edge of the box and volleyed towards goal, only for Guaita to get down low to his right to turn the effort wide.
Guaita was in excellent form and kept the score down, despite harsh criticism for Pulisic’s strike going inside the Spaniard’s near post. The 34-year-old also kept out two efforts from Mason Mount.
Chelsea were not to be denied, though, and had a third on the half-hour mark. Zouma met a free kick to powerfully convert. 3-0 scarcely flattered Thomas Tuchel’s side, who swarmed and pressed Palace relentlessly, while the movement of attacking midfield pair Mount and Pulisic dragged the Eagles’ full-backs, Joel Ward and Patrick van Aanholt, out of positions.
Zouma also had a header cleared off the line by Van Aanholt before Palace finally created a chance. Jordan Ayew raced clear of Antonio Rudiger but his delivery across the face of goal was cleared by Cesar Azplilicueta.
Roy Hodgson’s side improved in the second half and did at least get on the scoresheet just after the hour. Substitute Jeffrey Schlupp raced down the left and crossed for Christian Benteke to head into the bottom corner. It is the Belgian’s first goal at Selhurst Park since he struck in the corresponding fixture in July, and the seventh goal of his season so far.
But any chance of an unlikely comeback was ruined when Pulisic scored his second, sliding in to meet Reece James’ cross at the back post.
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