The Sunday Post (Inverness)
It’s the Christian and Kai show as Palace are blitzed
Kai Havertz starred to help Chelsea get their top-four hopes back on track with a comfortable 4-1 win at Crystal Palace. The Germany international ended his long drought in the Premier League with an early strike at Selhurst Park and caused the hosts constant problems in one of his best displays for the club.
Christian Pulisic also impressed and grabbed a brace, while Kurt Zouma was on target in the first half for Thomas Tuchel’s men, who moved up to fourth with this routine victory.
An anomaly happened with eight minutes played when Havertz grabbed only his second Premier League goal since a £71million summer switch. Vicente Guaita made a fine save to deny Pulisic moments earlier, before Ebere Eze was disposed deep inside his own half and it proved costly. Havertz won the ball back and was found by Callum Hudson-odoi in the box where he produced a fine curled strike to open the scoring.
Ex-bayer Leverkusen attacker Havertz was not finished there and within 120 seconds had assisted Pulisic to make it 2-0, with a cut back as the winger smashed into the roof of the net. Both had struggled for goals this term, but it was the American’s second in as many starts, while Tuchel saw his players again respond to last weekend’s shock loss to West Brom having beat Porto in midweek.
Havertz almost had a goal of the season contender in the 22nd minute, but his volley after a wonderful flick over Patrick Van Aanholt was saved.
It was 3-0 with half an hour played when Kurt Zouma headed home a Mason Mount free-kick to ensure Chelsea would return to the top four. Antonio Rudiger nearly joined his fellow centre-back on the scoresheet prior to half-time, but Van Aanholt cleared his goalbound effort. Palace added some tension to the occasion with a goal in the 63rd minute. Jeffrey Schlupp made an immediate impact from the bench and crossed for Benteke to grab his sixth goal of the campaign with a smart header.
Gary Cahill made a last-ditch block to deny Mount, but a fourth arrived when sub Reece James was afforded too much space and Pulisic finished off his centre at the back post to wrap up the scoring.