Chilwell’s flying debut banishes Chelsea blues

Chilwell’s flying debut banishes Chelsea blues

LONDON • Frank Lampard was full of praise for Ben Chilwell, who scored his first Chelsea goal yesterday as the defender’s dynamic display on his Premier League debut with his new team inspired a 4-0 home thrashing of Crystal Palace.

Hampered by a heel injury, the 23-year-old had a delayed start to his first season with Chelsea following his £50 million (S$88 million) move from Leicester in August.

But the England left-back is making up for lost time, delivering an influential performance in his third game for the Blues following a pair of League Cup outings.

“Ben was fantastic today. His ability to be so high up the pitch, that’s not a bad thing, and his great quality on the ball,” Lampard said on BT Sport. “The lads who have come in have all had issues, but Ben has shown what he’s all about.”

While the Blues manager invested in a host of attackers after last season, it was Chilwell’s efforts that broke down Palace’s stubborn defence. The left-back’s thumping finish put Chelsea ahead at Stamford Bridge after half-time and it was his cross for Kurt Zouma’s header that doubled their lead.

Jorginho added a pair of late penalties to complete the rout, but not before striker Tammy Abraham lost an argument with skipper Cesar Azpilicueta over taking the second spot kick.

“Not too many put four past Crystal Palace. It was great for us to get four goals,” said Lampard.

“Just the urgency of our game needed more. We needed to get Ben into the game. We can’t allow Palace’s back four to say dealing with Chelsea’s front line was easy.”

Chilwell said: “It was a brilliant team performance, and I’m obviously very happy with my personal performance.”

Chelsea bounced back from their midweek League Cup defeat by Tottenham and ended a run of two league games without a win.

The defensive blunders that contributed to their 3-3 draw at West Brom were erased and, crucially, Lampard’s men found their cutting edge against defensive opponents.​

    ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

    Chelsea 4

    Crystal Palace 0

Capping an encouraging day, Christian Pulisic came off the bench for a cameo in his first appearance of the season.

Lampard had the luxury of starting goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for the first time in the league since his move from Rennes. With Azpilicueta and Jorginho back in the starting XI, Chelsea were more assured in possession.

In a later game, Everton went back to the top of the league as they beat Brighton 4-2 at Goodison Park. Colombian pair Yerry Mina and James Rodriguez, who scored twice, added to top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s opener to help the Toffees to their fourth league win in a row.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE