Chelsea vs Crystal Palace: Five Key Talking Points

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After bizarre 2015, Chelsea began their New Year with a performance that was reminiscent of their former selves. The Blues, revitalized under their new manager, Guus Hiddink, showcased a completely revamped performance to win 3-0 over Crystal Palace. Goals from Oscar, Willian and Costa secured three crucial points that see Chelsea move to 14th in the league. However, they are still 12 points adrift from the top four.

After this satisfying victory for Chelsea, we take a look at the five most important things that we learned from this match:

John Obi Mikel Is The Answer To Chelsea’s Defensive Fragilities

Chelsea had always lacked their usual defensive solidity this season and poor performances from the defensive midfielders Matic, Cesc Fabregas, and Ramires resulted in failure to provide a solid cover to the back four. However, Mikel has risen to the occasion recently putting in kind of performances that have secured him a place in the first team. Against Crystal Palace, the Nigerian was arguably the best player on the pitch. He needs to continue his good form if Chelsea hopes to make this season end on a good note.

Diego Costa Is Back To His Usual Best

Current Premier League season has been a forgetful one both for Chelsea and Diego Costa. However, with changing fortunes of his club, Costa’s performances have also changed, for the good. The Spanish professional now boasts three goals and an assist in the last two games, matching the total that he had managed for the first 18 games. It is clear that Costa is playing with a renewed passion after Mourinho’s departure. He was able to bag an impressive goal and another beautiful fake-shot-assist for Oscar’s goal.

Eden Hazard Is Unlikely To Score Anytime Soon

Eden Hazard is having a disappointing season thus far, and all his efforts are going waste. Every time he looks to take a step forward, gets back by two. The Belgian professional, who recently recovered from a hip injury started the match with tenacity and spark. However, he picked up groin injury halfway through the first session and was replaced by summer signing Pedro, who himself is having an awful season. The length of his absence will be determined after a medical that will take place on Monday.

The Dressing Room Spirit Is Rising

Chelsea are working as a unit after Jose’s departure. Guss Hiddink has certainly done wonders with his man management as every player now looks happier on the pitch. A positive change in the dressing room has turned their performance around, resulting in favorable results for the Stamford Bridge outfit. Chelsea are now undefeated in all their four post Mourinho games. Winning their first game of the New Year in such style must have boosted their morale tenfold, and they must now look forward to building upon it.

Old Talents Will Save Chelsea

Many had expected that Chelsea’s Dutch manager would give more opportunity to the club youngsters in these times of despair. However, it now looks that Guss has instead chosen to trust his old faithful to save Chelsea’s dwindling season. He has made minor changes to Jose’s established starting lineup, and they have vastly bettered the results. At the moment, it seems a right decision not to give so much responsibility to the youngsters. 

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