Alongside him, Kovacic was the one exploiting space and making things happen. In addition to the previously mentioned joint-highest key passes, the Croatian also completed more successful dribbles (three) than anyone else for the Blues as he burst forward out of midfield when the opportunity presented itself. That is all while maintaining an impressive 97.4 per cent passing accuracy, the best on the pitch.
Pressure pays off
However, perhaps the real key to our victory was the way we managed to keep Crystal Palace at arm’s length throughout, pressing them in possession high up the pitch and restricting them to just the one shot on target in 90 minutes.
That desire to challenge our opponents and win the ball back before they could get into a threatening position was shown by the fact that all 34 tackles and 11 interceptions by Chelsea players (both figures noticeably higher than those recorded by Palace) were made outside of our penalty area, and only 12 of those tackles were even in our half of the pitch.
As always, Mason Mount played a key role in leading our high press. Despite playing in the front three, he made more tackles than any Crystal Palace player, and was behind only Azpilicueta and Jorginho for the Blues.