Chelsea returned to winning ways in the Premier League on a day we bid an emotional farewell to the late, great Gianluca Vialli.

Stamford Bridge paid its respects to our former player and manager in our first home match since the Italian’s passing and it was a thumping header that our former nine would have been proud of that settled the contest.

Kai Havertz was the match-winner, rising highest in the air 65 minutes into a deadlocked London derby to head in Hakim Ziyech’s delivery. The Blues were also indebted to a string of important saves from Kepa Arrizabalaga, the most important of which came late on to deny Cheick Doucoure.

The victory ends a run of three consecutive defeats and the good news was added to further with confirmation during the match that Mykhailo Mudryk’s signing from Shakhtar Donetsk had been completed.

The selection

For the second time in four days, Graham Potter handed out a Chelsea debut among his starting 11 as Benoi Badiashile started in defence alongside Thiago Silva and Trevoh Chalobah at the back.

That was one of five changes from the midweek defeat across south-west London at Fulham, with Conor Gallagher, Hakim Ziyech, Jorginho and Carney Chukwuemeka recalled, the latter making his first start for the Blues.

Palace made three alterations from their last outing, a 2-1 home loss to Southampton with Tyrick Mitchell, Jeffrey Schlupp and Ebere Eze back in Patrick Vieira’s side.

Remembering Luca

Prior to kick-off in our first match at Stamford Bridge since the death of Gianluca Vialli, tributes were paid to our legendary former player and manager by those who had played with him, been coached by him or simply just adored him from the stands.

Former players such as John Terry, Graeme Le Saux and Mark Hughes joined players from both teams in the minute’s applause, which followed an emotional video being played on the big screens which you can watch below.

The home supporters also paid their respects with crowd-surfer banners in the Shed and Matthew Harding stands referencing the famous chant that followed the team around England and Europe in the late 1990s.

Open start

With Lewis Hall and Hakim Ziyech providing width across the pitch, Chelsea started with intent and were soon venturing into the Palace penalty area.

Our teenage full-back led the charge, driving forward down the inside-left channel before firing a ball into the six-yard box that was expertly watched and cleared by Joachim Andersen.

Down the other end, the Eagles fashioned opportunities of their own and Kepa Arrizabalaga had to be quick off his line to head clear before the Spaniard thwarted Michael Olise with a flying save to push away a rising strike on the half-volley. In between those efforts, Tyrick Mitchell was also denied by a spreadeagled Kepa save.

Havertz headed chance

Despite dominating possession, clear-cut chances were at a premium for the Blues. Thiago Silva won two headers in the box and then forced Vicente Guaita into a low stop, though the flag quickly went up to rule Kai Havertz offside in the build-up.

Gallagher, who spent last season on loan at Selhurst Park, then troubled his former team-mates with a determined run that resulted in one of our ninefirst-half corners, though the visitors remained resilient in the air.

Our best opportunity of the half fell to Havertz just after the half-hour mark, the German drifting into space in the box and reading the flight of Ziyech’s floated inswinger. He beat Guaita to the ball but couldn’t keep his header down and the attempt soon landed on the roof of the net.

Keepers keep them out

Both goalkeepers were worked before the interval, with Gallagher again making good progress down the right before firing in a low centre. Havertz narrowly missed making contact and the ball went through to Hall, who returned back where it had come but shot wide of the far post.

Kepa then pushed over a powerful header from Schlupp before Guiata did similar for Palace as Chelsea quickly broke forward, with Gallagher’s cross cut out and Ziyech’s rising strike helped over the crossbar.

During the half-time break, a new face was introduced to the crowd as Mudryk met the fans shortly after completing a transfer from Shakhtar Donetsk. Draped in the flag of Ukraine, the 22-year-old was afforded a warm welcome before returning to the stands to watch the remainder of the match.

Flying Kai

Patience and persistence were required as we started the second half still searching for the game’s opening goal. Kepa punched away a stinging strike from Wilfried Zaha but it was Havertz holding the most influence as the deciding moments of the contest came along.

First, our number 29 was denied by Guiata with a shot that lacked the accuracy to trouble the visiting keeper but finally the deadlock was broken with 25 minutes remaining.

Gallagher and Ziyech worked a short corner from the left before the Moroccan delivered and Havertz’s lively front-post run was coupled with a Vialli-esque thumping header that left Guaita with no chance and handed the forward his sixth goal of the campaign.

Working for the win

The Blues have not enjoyed many games with a comfortable winning margin in recent weeks and so it was always going to be a nervy finale under the darkening skies in SW6.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, introduced from the bench just before Havertz’s opener, had a sighter for a second but was quickly snuffed out by the onrushing Guaita.

Jorginho and Mason Mount then combined to set up an enticing opener, with the England international delivering with just a little too much height and power as Havertz waited to head in another.

Kalidou Koulibaly and Cesar Azpilicueta were sent on in the dying stages to preserve the points, though it required an excellent flying save from Kepa to maintain our clean sheet as he reached high to push over Doucoure’s effort from distance.

What’s next?

The Blues have a rare midweek break before we head to Anfield to take on Liverpool in the Premier League next Saturday lunchtime.

Chelsea (4-3-3) Kepa; Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Badiashile, Hall (Koulibaly 80); Jorginho (c), Gallagher, Mount; Chukwuemeka (Aubameyang 63), Havertz (Azpilicueta 89), Ziyech (Kovacic 89)
Unused subs Bettinelli, Cucurella, Humphreys, Loftus-Cheek, Fofana
Scorer Havertz 65
Booked Jorginho 49; Gallagher 84

Crystal Palace Guaita; Clyne, Andersen (Tomkins 39), Guehi (c), Mitchell; Doucoure, Schlupp (Hughes 70), Olise; Eze (Edouard 70), Ayew (Mateta 70), Zaha
Unused subs Johnstone, Ward, Richards, Milivojevic, Ozoh
Booked Doucoure 26; Clyne 42; Eze 52; Vieira 80 (not on pitch); Hughes 83; Guehi 88

Referee Peter Bankes
Crowd 40,075