Football: Vialli double inspires Chelsea rout
Chelsea 6 Crystal Palace 2
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Thursday 12 March 1998
Chelsea succeeded in transplanting their potent Cup form into a strangely becalmed Premiership campaign, leaving Palace firmly rooted at the foot of the table as they did so. It was almost as if they were provoked by a glimpse of the impertinence of Palace's early season away form, because after Hermann Hreidarsson had given the visitors the lead they struck back in devastating style.
The Icelander drove home from the angle of the penalty area after Chelsea had failed to clear their lines; but it was nothing to the defensive fallibility which was to follow.
Chelsea punished what is still, for the moment, Steve Coppell's side twice in as many minutes in their first flurry, Vialli pouncing for his first when nobody volunteered to clear Gianfranco Zola's corner and Zola himself claiming the second as he rounded Kevin Miller with consummate ease.
David Tuttle thought he had headed an equaliser when he met Simon Rodger's free-kick only to be ruled offside, but Palace were cast hopelessly adrift just before the break when Miller failed to hold the ball with Vialli buzzing around him, leaving the player-manager to push in his second.
Palace brought on three forwards in the second half, including Attilio Lombardo, who was hailed as a potential saviour by their little phalanx of fans, but their need to throw everyone forward made their vulnerable defence even more flimsy.
Chelsea had been guilty of over-elaborating when presented with some opportunities and Dennis Wise had seen an overhead kick brilliantly saved by Miller before a late burst showed that their subsidiary business of maintaining a decent League position was back on the tracks.
First Wise stroked the ball home and then after another of Palace's reinforcements, Marcus Bent, had replied, Tore Andre Flo helped himself to a rapid double. That made it four goals in a frantic last six minutes, but Chelsea had actually defined the difference between the two sides long before that.
Coppell, who saw his best defender, Andy Roberts, sold from under him at the weekend, pointed to a clear moral. "I thought there were spells when we were brighter than we've been for a long time," he said. "But we were so fragile in defence it was unbelievable. You can't blame off- field activities for rank bad defending, for people playing offside in the wrong part of the pitch. We were 11 strangers tonight defensively."
Chelsea (3-5-2): Kharin; Sinclair (Lambourde, 80), Leboeuf, Clarke; Petrescu, Morris (P Hughes, 84), Wise, Newton, Granville; Zola, Vialli (Flo, 74). Substitutes not used: Charvet, Hitchcock (gk).
Crystal Palace (3-5-2): Miller; Ismael, Edworthy, Tuttle (Bent, 78); Smith, Emblen (Lombardo, 65), Fullarton, Rodger, Hreidarsson; Dyer (Jansen, 65) Brolin. Substitutes not used: Linighan, Nash (gk).
Referee: M Riley (Leeds).
The Microsoft mogul told fans a few home truths during his Reddit AMA
Latest in Sport
Brooklyn Beckham poses in Arsenal training kit following rumours of signing for the Gunners
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea could leave for FREE; £38m for Marquinhos; £37m bid for Mats Hummels;
Transfer talk: Juan Cuadrado Chelsea move imminent; Manchester United eye Nathaniel Clyne; Andre Schurrle medical at Wolfsburg
Danny Ings to Liverpool: The Reds attempt to steal a march on rivals in race to sign Burnley striker
Kim Sears 'swearing' outburst threatens to overshadow Andy Murray's Australian Open semi-final win
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£120 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: The Humanities Department of this ...
£120 - £180 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Newham Position: Music Start dat...
£120 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Sutton Position: Science teacher S...