There were several takeaways from Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Crystal Palace.
1. Alvaro Morata is a better instinctive finisher
As we saw when the Spaniard was through one on one at the end of the game, Morata struggles to score when he has too long to think about it. His two goals were quick finishes where he has no time except to set himself and strike.
We know he is a player who suffers with confidence issues. He is clearly talented so the less time he has to get in his own head the better.
2. The team’s pressing was off
Maurizio Sarri was visibly furious at times. This was because the team’s general pressing without the ball was poor.
The efforts at pressing the ball was inconsistent. This may have been because the Blues were worried about the threat of Wilfred Zaha. Or it may have come from the absence of Mateo Kovacic, who sets the one for the high press.
Whatever the reasons, it resulted in a sluggish performance before Hazard and Kovacic came on.
3. Ross Barkley failed to press home his advantage
Barkley was again picked to start over Kovacic as a reward for his recent form. But after this performance, the Croat is probably back in front.
Barkley gave the ball away a lot. His passing was functional and conservative. He never took many risks in an effort to make something happen.
Kovacic, by contrast, played very well. The midfield was smoother and faster.