Pre-season 2010: Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea – Michael Essien Strike Gives Chelsea Win

July 17th, 2010

Returning star hands Blues the win…

Michael Essien scored the only goal in Chelsea‘s pre-season friendly game against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The Blues offered a start to promising youngsters Daniel Sturridge and Franco Di Santo in the delayed kick-off at Selhurst Park whilst veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech captained the side with Michael Essien taking his place in the middle of the park.

Darren Ambrose, who had been linked with a move away from the club, started for Palace with promising young striker Wilfred Zaha starting on the bench for George Burley’s side.

Chelsea got off to a promising start, breaking on the counter after a Darren Ambrose corner, before Di Santo fired in a shot from just outside the box which was held well by Julian Speroni in the Palace goal.

The Blues continued their attack with Josh McEachran playing in a corner which former Manchester City striker Daniel Sturridge headed over the bar, closely followed by the returning Essien firing a long-range shot directly at Speroni.

With just over ten minutes gone Sturridge broke down the right hand side and fired a ball across but failed to find a blue shirt, allowing Darren Ambrose to break down the left-wing before over-hitting a pass and handing possession back to Chelsea.

Sturridge continued to trouble the Eagles back-four, firing a shot towards goal from just outside the box which was quickly blocked by defender Adam Barrett, sending the ball out of play for a throw.

With 20 minutes gone McEachran played a terrific ball into the box which found Sturridge, who managed to stay on his feet and find Essien on the right-hand side before the Ghanaian sent the ball back into the middle towards John Obi Mikel who couldn’t convert his effort from just outside the box.

Five minutes later Palace were back on the attack, with Neil Danns picking up the ball just inside the Chelsea half and firing a long-distance shot just wide in an attempt to catch Czech keeper Petr Cech off his line.

Seconds later Jeffery Bruma broke down the right-wing for Chelsea, sending in a cross which was scrambled away by the Palace defence before the ball fell to Michael Essien who saw his shot from just outside the box thunder off bar.

After just half an hour Chelsea keeper Petr Cech looked to be struggling, forcing Blues manager Carlo Ancelotti to replace him with former Middlesbrough keeper Ross Turnbull.

With just five minutes left in the first-half Essien played the ball to Sturridge who was in space, allowing him the head toward the box before flicking the ball to his left toward Nemanja Matic, whose deflected effort was collected by Speroni.

Early in the second-half Essien played a ball to Bruma on the right side of the Palace box, with the youngster firing his shot just wide of the Palace goal.

Minutes later McEachran chipped a ball in from the left-hand side which was volleyed towards goal by Sturridge before Speroni blocked, allowing it to fall to Essien who’s shot deflected wide for a corner.

With 60 minutes gone Chelsea broke forward, resulting in Michael Essien picking the ball up just outside the box and firing a low shot past Speroni and into the keepers bottom left-hand corner, giving Chelsea the lead.

After contributing a goal Essien was given a deserved rest along with five others as Sinclair, Cork, Clifford, Hilario and Lalkovic coming on.

Minutes later Sinclair was brought down by McCarthy with the referee handing Chelsea a free-kick just on the edge of the box, which Bruma clipped off the wall and out for a corner.

Over the next five minutes George Burley made a number of changes for Palace, including taking off Neil Danns and bringing on Liam Bridcutt, who was released by Chelsea earlier in the summer.

Chelsea also decided to make a number of changes with just 15 minutes left, including bring on 15-year-old Nathanel Chalobah.

Chelsea ended the second-half playing comfortabe football, with substitute Lalkovic using his pace to get to the ball at the byline and cut it back across the box only to find there was no blue shirts who could reach the pass.

Chelsea line-up: 1. Petr Cech, 2. Jeffrey Buma, 3. Ryan Bertrand, 4. Patrick Van Aanholt, 5. Michael Essien, 6. Alex, John Obi Mikel, 8. Nemanja matic. 9. Daniel Sturridge, 10. Joshua McEachran, 11. Franco Di Santo.

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