Chelsea ratings: Gusto, Mudryk shine in late win vs. Crystal Palace

Chelsea responded to their disappointing result on Christmas Eve with a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

Mykhailo Mudryk latched onto Malo Gusto‘s pass to open the scoring in the 13th minute, but Michael Olise struck back in stoppage time of the first half.

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Nicolas Jackson thought he had scored but was caught marginally offside, although the winner still came as Noni Madueke won a penalty from Eberechi Eze and showed the confidence to convert it.

The three points lifted the Blues above AFC Bournemouth and into 10th place.


After being so wasteful against Wolves and having to wait until the 96th minute for their goal, it was an encouraging sign that Chelsea scored 13 minutes into proceedings. In addition to scoring that goal, Mudryk was one of the wide men involved in the team’s exciting attacking play while they were dominant in the first half. While the second period was disappointing as a whole, Chelsea at least looked solid defensively for most of it. Most importantly of all, they won their final home match of 2023.


The Blues got off to a poor start in both halves. Even when they were on top in the first period, Chelsea could be guilty of slowing things down unnecessarily at times. Although far worse than that, they conceded at the very end of the first half despite their dominance. They then carried nowhere near the same attacking threat for most of the second half.

Manager rating

Mauricio Pochettino, 7 — There was so much encouragement to take from the first half, although Pochettino’s side went in level at the break after conceding late on. His big call was arguably to start Ian Maatsen in the absence of Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling, with the 21-year-old going on to have a minimal impact. His substitutions paid off as Madueke won and converted the winning penalty, while he was booked in added time.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Djordje Petrovic, 6 Looked confident with the ball at his feet but there was nothing he could do for Palace’s equaliser. Tipped shots from Jean-Philippe Mateta and Olise wide and did well to hold an effort from the latter in added time.

DF Malo Gusto, 8 — Looked brilliant in both his attacking and defensive play. In defence, the Frenchman put in a great tackle to deny Jordan Ayew, while he continued his run and put the chance on a plate for Mudryk’s opener.

DF Axel Disasi, 6 — Played some poor passes to put his team under unnecessary pressure but largely looked confident in his defensive play. Did enough to stop Eze’s shot from troubling Petrovic.

DF Benoit Badiashile, 6 — After doing well to stop Mateta running through on one occasion, he got too tight and was spun as the striker carved out a chance for himself and seemed to struggle against him after that.

DF Levi Colwill, 5 — Struggled against Olise in the early stages and battled to keep up with him, but then undid all of that work by committing to meet a cross and missing it to leave the winger with space to score the equaliser. Did well to cut out Eze’s ball to Olise.

MF Moisés Caicedo, 6 — Lost the ball cheaply at times and didn’t follow Olise, leaving him with space to score Palace’s equaliser. Was booked for a foul on Olise after the ball had already been played but did well to stop Eze’s break forward with a tackle in his own box.

MF Conor Gallagher, 7 — Received a mixed reception from the travelling fans but didn’t let that impact him, as the midfielder put in a lot of good defensive work and notably slid in to block a shot from Eze. Some of his play on the ball could have been better but he slid the ball through for Jackson’s chance. Was booked for dissent.

MF Ian Maatsen, 5 — Maatsen was making his first Premier League start of the season and struggled to get up to the level needed at times. Saw his shot cleared off the line and had another deflected wide, while Chris Richards was far stronger than him in the build-up to Palace’s equaliser.

MF Christopher Nkunku, 7 — Brought plenty of composure on his first start for Chelsea, rolling the ball to Gusto in the build-up to the opener and providing some wonderful passes and touches. Missed the ball under pressure from Richards after being played through.

MF Mykhailo Mudryk, 7 — Put in some brilliant defensive work to help Colwill and also looked bright in attack, coolly converting the opening goal. Was smothered by Dean Henderson and had another effort blocked but was quieter in the second half.

FW Nicolas Jackson, 6 — While he had some poor passes and touches, Jackson’s hold-up and link-up play was mostly good, as he provided a lovely flick for Mudryk’s chance. Offered very little for much of the second half and sent the ball wide from a massive opportunity, then was left disappointed when his goal was ruled out for a marginal offside call.

Substitutes (players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

DF Thiago Silva, 7 — Replaced Colwill in the 58th minute and brought added composure to Chelsea’s backline and his cross resulted in Jackson’s chance for the disallowed goal, but then slipped to let Palace in. Played a brilliant ball forward for Armando Broja, then came across well to deny Matheus França.

MF Romeo Lavia, 6 — Replaced Maatsen in the 58th minute and didn’t take long to let Olise know that he was there. Played a disappointing pass when there was a chance to break forward.

FW Noni Madueke, N/R — Replaced Nkunku in the 71st minute and immediately looked bright, forcing Richards into a foul that earned him a yellow. Was booked for an incident with Tyrick Mitchell but then went on to win and convert the late penalty to earn all three points for Chelsea. Also helped out defensively.

FW Armando Broja, N/R — Replaced Mudryk in the 71st minute and was eased off the ball when he was first played behind. Controlled Silva’s ball brilliantly but fired into the side netting.

DF Alfie Gilchrist, N/R — Replaced Badiashile in the 92nd minute to make his first-team debut and looked keen to make his mark, putting in a whole-hearted tackle near the corner.

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