AT times while watching the Chelsea vs Crystal Palace match, it was difficult to tell which team was which.
Chelsea are full of quality, but it was Palace that were looking like the biggest threat and the team who wanted to win the game the most.
Palace were hugely unlucky not to at least get a point, hitting the post in the final moments.
Frank Lampard’s team once again looked physically and mentally weak as they crumbled twice, once at 2-0 to then go 2-1 up, and then at 3-1 up to let Palace back in again to make it 3-2.
This made for a very concerning last 15 minutes of the match and although Chelsea got the vital three points, Lampard will be very unhappy with some of the defensive play, and his side’s inability to control the play.
Controlling the play is something that Lampard’s Chelsea have grown used to doing whilst coming up against teams who mainly sit deep in a low block and let Chelsea come at them.
Palace took the game to Chelsea and it very nearly paid of for them. The Blues were like scared rabbits in headlights and failed to deal with the intense pressure and physicality of the Palace players, a lot like how they struggled losing to West Ham 3-2 a couple of weeks ago.
This was similar in too many ways, apart from this time Chelsea were lucky enough to see out the win. Chelsea were even luckier getting their first goal after Gary Cahill went down injured.
Lampard has spoken about the mentality of his players in recent weeks, and there will certainly be more doubts about this again.
There are no leaders, nobody standing up to be counted, and nobody putting their foot on the ball and taking back control of the play.
None of Chelsea’s creative sparks really showed up and they were often doubled up by Palace, almost bullied off the ball. But they allowed themselves to be bullied.
Lampard will want to see stronger heads and stronger physicality from his players, who often looked a shade of the quality they have shown at times this season.
There have always been concerns over Chelsea’s lack of leaders since the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard himself was playing for them, and this is something that they still don’t really have on the park.
Lampard will be looking to address this and is reportedly looking at Declan Rice from West Ham, with his leadership qualities being something he admires.
But they need to collectively get stronger mentally and physically if they wish to close the gap on Liverpool and Manchester City.