Chelsea win against Crystal Palace and secure the first away win since August 2015.
Crystal Palace were the hosts and opponent for Chelsea’s first game at the new year. After draws against Watford and Manchester United, Chelsea were keen to win the first game with Guus Hiddink. They have done their job very well with the best performance of the season.
It took Crystal just a half minute till they got their first chance due a corner. However, they couldn’t make anything out of it. It was very rainy at Selhurst Park, good and accurate passes were needed but mostly both teams failed to deliver them at the early stages. After 7 minutes, Zaha had a good shot for Palace which went slightly off-target. Guus Hiddink had to make an early change as Hazard got injured again after a tackle. Pedro replaced him and brought some good runs and attacks into the game. Overall it was an equal start by both teams, though “The Eagles” had better chances which were mostly made by Zaha and Campbell. After another wasted chance by Pardew’s team, Chelsea started well to create a quick attack. A lovely pass by Cesc Fabregas beyond Crystal’s defense found Diego Costa who made a great body swerve in the box of Wayne Hennessey who thought Costa would shoot – but he was wrong. Diego passed the ball to Oscar who had only to put the ball over the line. A great teamwork goal! Chelsea started to dominate the game which resulted in 59 % of ball possession. Still Crystal managed to create some dangerous situations at the end but they didn’t use them and Chelsea took the deserved 1-0 lead into half-time.
The Chelsea away supporters showed once again their class with a very noisy performance at the begin of 2nd half. It took some minutes, but Willian got the first good chance with a cross which was saved by Wayne Hennessey. However, Chelsea didn’t make anything out of the following two corners. Fabulous tackles by Mikel and Ivanovic kept “The Eagles” away from Courtois’ goal till the 59th minute when Thibaut made a great save. After a counter attack, where Oscar lost the ball after he was fouled, Willian got the ball and he made a great straight shot from 25 yards – and the ball went in! Unbelievable, a great goal by Chelsea’s player of this season. It didn’t take even 6 more minutes, a nice cross by Willian couldn’t be saved by goalkeeper Hennessey once again and Costa, who was waiting at the 2nd post, pressed the ball over the defender into the goal. A great game by the blues, the Chelsea Fans were rightly singing: “That’s why we are Champions of England!”. After the 3rd goal, the game became slower. Chelsea kept the control and should have made more out of their chances, especially Willian and Costa created some good stuff.
The Blues have to play Scunthorpe United at FA Cup on next Sunday before there is another game at the Bridge against West Brom. Probably, Chelsea started their season today.
Report by Benjamin Neubauer