Chelsea held on to bag another vital three points in the race for the top four as they edged out Crystal Palace 3-2 at Selhurst Park.
This topsy-turvy encounter was a very nervy one for the Blues, who never really looked in control despite showing plenty of promise going forward.
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It’s a strange situation that must be puzzling Chelsea fans a little, as they have already signed two attacking players in Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech for next season, whilst being linked strongly with Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz by the Guardian and others.
Chelsea, however, got their three goals and three points today thanks to an opener from Olivier Giroud, a fine effort from Christian Pulisic to make it 2-0, and then the eventual winner from Tammy Abraham.
Meanwhile, it was dodgy performances from their defence that kept Palace in this game, with many fans slating Reece James for a dip in form at right-back.
Andreas Christensen was also poor for Christian Benteke’s goal, while goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga could arguably also have done better for Wilfried Zaha’s screamer in the first half.
That said, credit must go to Kurt Zouma for an incredible saving tackle in stoppage time that preserved Chelsea’s narrow lead.
Still, there’s no doubt that the burning issue at Stamford Bridge is the need to invest in defenders and a new goalkeeper.
Chelsea will be pleased with their investments in Werner and Ziyech, as Giroud and Abraham, despite their goals today, have not really been up to scratch throughout this season.
There seems little need, however, for a signing like Havertz, with Pulisic growing in confidence all the time and grabbing another goal today.
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Zouma will rightly be lauded for his heroics, but he and most of the other centre-backs at Chelsea have not looked solid enough for most of this season, and it’s a miracle an unlucky Palace side didn’t get their equaliser today.
For now, it was enough for Chelsea to maintain their grip on fourth place, but it’s a warning to the west Londoners for the final few games of the season, and a timely reminder of what their priorities need to be when the transfer window opens.