Chelsea overcame Crystal Palace 1-o in a hard fought game in foggy conditions at Selhurst Park to make it 11 wins on the trot as Contes Chelsea juggernaut rolls on. It was Chelsea’s third 1-0 win in a row in what is starting to look like Title winning form, with star man Diego Costa again making the difference for the Blues, netting his 13th Premier League goal of the season.
The game was scrappy for much of the first half with both sides working hard but unable to create any clear cut chances. Jason Puncheon had Palace’s best moments, miskicking a half chance after a whipped ball into the box by Martin Kelly and then seeing a free kick go narrowly over Courtois’ goal.
Heading into the final stages of the first half the biggest talking point had been Diego Costa’s somewhat harsh booking which was miraculously his first in 11 games and will see the in form hitman suspended for the Blues boxing day fixture with Bournemouth.
Chelsea made the breakthrough on 43 minutes after a neat turn by Hazard in midfield the Belgian played the ball out to the right to Azpilicueta who carried the ball forward and floated a beautiful delivery into Diego Costa who had pulled off towards the back stick and expertly headed back across goal to leave Wayne Hennessy stranded.
Palace came out in the second half and upped the intensity and tried to get their record signing Christian Benteke into the game but despite their effort they struggled to create any clear cut chances against Chelsea’s superbly organised back three. With Chelsea looking more likely to score again then Palace did to equalise.
Fabregas came on around the hour mark and almost made a immediate impact, just overhitting his pull back to Marcus Alonso inside the six yard box which would have left the wing back with nothing more than a tap in to increase Chelsea’s lead. Alonso then almost sealed the game with a superb 25 yard whipped free kick that crashed against the bar. Gary Cahill was unable to convert the rebound. Palace tried to push forward but again could not fashion anything resembling a decent chance and Chelsea held on for the 1-0 win comfortably.
Another Palace defeat will heap more pressure on their manager, recent defeats to Man United and Chelsea are nothing to be ashamed about and the players still look committed to the cause however 22 defeats over the last year most definitely tell the story of things just not working out for Super Al at Selhurst Park. Fans are becoming increasingly disillusioned with their former player and if they lose their next game away to Watford, Pardew may well find himself looking for a new job very soon.
For Chelsea boss Conte, he will simply be asking for more of the same from his players. They look solid defensively and clinical going forward, the perfect mix really. They play Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge next on Boxing day and it will be interesting to see how Conte shuffles his pack to deal with the loss of suspended duo Costa and Kante. This was not Chelsea’s best performance of the season by any stretch but it was very much a case of job done as they now bear down on Arsenals record of consecutive Premier League wins and it’s difficult to see the Premier League heading anywhere but Stamford Bridge come May.
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