Analysis

5 things that made us think after Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace

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2) Chelsea need to find a tactical middle ground

Mourinho himself was, not for the first time, caught between two stools: one labelled attack, the other defence. Pedro's arrival has lessened the creative burden on Eden Hazard already, but while Willian once again proved his worth as a hard-working scuttler, he still isn't creating enough opportunities: the Brazilian has contributed just six goals and five assists in 65 league games for the Blues. Fabregas has been inconsistent since his blistering, assist-laden start at Chelsea in the early weeks of last season, and offered very little going forward in this match.

On this occasion, Chelsea lacked the attacking thrust to break Palace down. Usually Mourinho's Chelsea manage that well: the defensive unit works hard and there's no danger of defeat (hence his staggeringly good home record, this being only his second league defeat at Stamford Bridge in 100 matches). But when the Blues went behind to Bakary Sako's goal, Mourinho had to flip a switch – and flipped altogether.

Off went Willian and Cesar Azpilicueta; on came Radamel Falcao and Brazilian forward Kenedy for his debut – at left-back. Two defensively-minded players, replaced by two attackers. All of a sudden, Chelsea were briefly set up in a kind of 2-6-2 formation, with Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma the only men defending. 

And in a way, it worked. Kenedy's first action was to surge forward and put in a dangerous cross, immediately offering a more direct threat than the nonetheless-reliable Azpilicueta had. Radamel Falcao scored with a well-placed header inside Alex McCarthy's near post (Pedro the provider). 1-1: job done.

But then, with Chelsea still top-heavy, Palace re-took the lead, having been given such attacking freedom that it was defender Joel Ward who guided a header into the bottom corner, after fine work from Sako and substitute Yannick Bolasie.

Once again Chelsea went into attacking overdrive, Kurt Zouma playing the role of targetman, but they couldn't destroy the Palace wall. So did Mourinho adapt wisely to the match situation? Or did he veer too suddenly from defence to attack? The latter looks a distinct possibility, even if, as Mourinho himself said, debutant and makeshift left-back Kenedy "was responsible for the improvement of the team and reaction after the first goal".

And while we're on the subject of Chelsea's full-backs...