For just the second time in 100 games under José Mourinho, Chelsea have lost at Stamford Bridge. We are just four weeks into the EPL season yet Chelsea already trail Manchester City by eight points after today’s 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace.
Malian international Bakary Sako scored his second goal in as many games for his new club midway through the second half after Yannick Bolasie, who gave Branislav Ivanovic fits all day, cut it back to him on a nice one-touch redirect. Cesar Azpilicueta was Chelsea’s only stout defender, but Sako won the ball in a tangle and finished quickly.
15 minutes later, the equalizer that always feels a certainty in Mourinho-led Chelsea games came. Falcao showed his first signs of life and beat his marker to the near post off a Pedro cross. At this point, the script felt familiar; Chelsea play like butt, get a result somehow. We’ve seen it over and over.
But the third goal of the game (above) came through Bolasie once again. Sako rerouted his cross towards the forehead of Joel Ward, who easily beat Thibaut Courtois. After ten nervy minutes of three-point-turning the bus into place, which featured Falcao blocking a would-be Ivanovic goal, Palace escaped.
The center back pairing that anchored Chelsea to last season’s title run has looked very shaky this year. Kurt Zouma replaced John Terry today, and fellow youngsters Kenedy and Ruben Loftus-Cheek both played, yet Chelsea looked slower and less deadly than they have in the past. There is a lot of season left, but Chelsea have a lot to get right.