Crystal Palace 0-3 Chelsea: Blues rip Eagles apart in comprehensive performance

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Chelsea came into this match 11 points behind Crystal Palace. They left Selhurst Park potentially having turned a corner.

Willian and Diego Costa starred up front for the Blues and Cesc Fabregas appears to be back to his former self as Chelsea stormed Crystal Palace 3-0.

At the start, both sides looked to have an attacking mindset despite the pouring rain, but each side was sloppy with the ball in the wet conditions. The weather had an adverse affect on the game early on as Eden Hazard was forced off after taking a speculative shot in the 15th minute, appearing to tweak his groin or hip. He was replaced by Pedro a minute later.

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Palace built themselves in to the attack trying to capitalize on some sloppy Chelsea mistakes. Kurt Zouma was needed to cut out a breakaway with a perfect tackle on Wilfried Zaha in the 23rd minute, and Jason Puncheon sprung Frazier Campbell with a long ball to the far post a minute later, but the sliding striker couldn’t connect properly.

With Palace on the front foot, they would concede on the break. In the 29th minute, Cesc Fabregas picked out Diego Costa. His defender Damien Delaney fell down, allowing Costa to find space and cut back to a trailing Oscar in the middle of the 6-yard box for the tap-in.

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Chelsea began to build themselves onto possession following the goal, and created a few more chances. Oscar sprung Cesar Azpilicueta down the left on 35 minutes, and with no other options the wing-back shot from a tight angle, forcing a good save by Wayne Hennessey and it went behind.

Following the break, Chelsea had the first chance, as Kurt Zouma rose well to meet a Willian free kick but headed just over the bar on 53 minutes. Palace had one down the other end five minutes later as Campbell found Zaha on the left edge of the box, but the 23-year-old’s effort was weak and saved.

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That would allow Chelsea an opening, and they would take full advantage. The Blues combined brilliantly down the field, and ultimately Oscar set up Willian atop the 18-yard box who unleashed an absolute howitzer into the top corner, an unsaveable shot for Hennessey to deal with, and Chelsea went 2-0 up.

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They’d get a third soon after, as Willian skipped past James McArthur and shot. Hennessey saved but could not hang on, and Costa bagged the rebound to send the game out of reach on 66 minutes. Palace began to hit the panic button down the stretch, but all it did was cause their build-up to be rushed and allowed Chelsea to have a few more efforts on goal.

The full-time whistle would come, giving Chelsea all three points and pushing them to 14th place with 23 points on the season, six points above the relegation zone and six points back of the top half of the table. Crystal Palace, meanwhile, remains in seventh position on 31 points, failing to capitalize on Liverpool’s loss in front of them.