It was a memorable London Derby at Selhurst Park on Saturday as league leaders Chelsea showed what they are capable of achieving even without the likes of the injured Diego Costa and Andre Schurrle. After an absorbing international break, the players showed no signs of international hangover whatsoever. John Terry played his 500th game as Chelsea captain and was fearless throughout the 90 minutes.
The first half was filled with blood and thunder. Oscar broke the deadlock early on before Cesar Azpillicueta was shown the red card in the 40th minute for a reckless two-footed lunge on Mile Jedinak. Fortunately for Chelsea, The Eagles couldn’t bank on the glorious opportunity that was presented to them and found themselves down to 10 men after a second yellow card was shown to Damien Delaney for a cynical foul on Loic Remy.
In the past few games, Oscar has shown why he is the perfect number 10. Willian won the free kick for The Blues, and Oscar stepped up to the challenge. It was an unstoppable free kick curled from the ‘wrong’ side for a right-foot shot which landed in the opposite corner of the net. A perfectly executed strike to fool the keeper, with great stride and pace. An absolute top drawer goal. This dazzling goal gave Chelsea the control of the game and took some pressure off Loic Remy, who was making his first Premier League start for Chelsea.
The second half was much more calm and composed compared to the first half. The Premier League leaders always seemed to have an execution plan, with 50 to 60 consecutive passes, and it was almost like a training session for Chelsea. Cesc Fabregas scored the second goal for the visitors that slowly took palace apart. The introduction of Zaha from the bench did inject some pace into Palace’s attack and resulted in Campbell’s goal late on. However, it was a case of too little, too late.
Cesc Fabregas 51′
After returning to the Premier League, Cesc Fabregas has clearly shown what he’s worth. Fabregas struck six minutes into the second half after playing return passes with Eden Hazard and then Oscar to surge into the penalty area for his first league goal for the unbeaten Blues.”Pure and collective art” is how Jose Mourinho described it. A classic Chelsea goal filled with exquisite, intricate passes to put the blues 2-0 up. Fabregas has now been involved in eight goals (one goal, seven assists) in eight Premier League games for Chelsea. An impressive showing from the ex-Barcelona man.
Fraizer Campbell 90′
Chelsea were content to keep possession, but Palace got a consolation when Wilfried Zaha showed some silky skills down the right flank and played in a grounded cross for Campbell to tap home from close range. The blues were made to sweat through the final stages before sealing a seventh league win.
Jose Mourinho insisted that there would be no repeat of the result and performance that his side served up at Selhurst Park last season and his players didn’t let him down. Chelsea made sure they had control of the game with 72% of the possession.
Mourinho’s rivals would have hoped that the loss of Costa would stall the Blues. Although Loic Remy was relatively quite, goalscorers Oscar and Fabregas were in magnificent touch in midfield. The unbeaten Blues also retained their five-point lead at the top of the table. The Blues will turn their attention to the Champions League with Slovenian club NK Maribor to visit Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening with a trip to Manchester United to follow.
Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni