Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 3-0 to give Guus Hiddink his first win
Chelsea beat Crystal Palace ___ to move up the table to 14th denying the Eagles a chance to move within one point of the to four. Goals from Oscar, Willian and Diego Costa were enough to give the Blues the much needed three points – Guus Hiddink’s first win in his second stint as interim boss.
Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Lee, Jedinak (C), McArthur, Puncheon, Zaha, Campbell.
Chelsea: Courtois, Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry (C), Azpilicueta, Mikel, Fabregas, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Costa
First Half: Chelsea take the lead through Oscar
As with most games this weekend, this London derby also saw incessant rain and Chelsea didn’t get off to the best of starts, conceding a corner within 30 seconds. Cesar Azpilicueta also suffered a nasty blow to the face when he was on the floor and Campbell kicked him in the face on the follow-through. After a brief delay where the Spaniard received treatment, he managed to continue playing.
Both Wilfried Zaha and Eden Hazard had chances to score but Zaha’s shot from outside the box missed the target while Hazard’s shot was blocked. But Chelsea were soon forced into an early substitution as Hazard came off unable to continue with Pedro replacing him in the 16th minute. The shot he had taken earlier in the game had affected him and he seemed to be struggling with a groin injury.
Palace then had a period of dominance as they forced free-kicks and corner kicks in the next 12 minutes. Damien Delaney managed to get a header on target before it was saved and Fraizer Campbell also had a free shot but it was off target.
However, it was the Blues who drew first blood in the 29th minute when Cesc Fabregas found Diego Costa with a through ball and the striker took the ball forward with only the goalkeeper to beat. But just as he looked set to pull the trigger, he squared a pass to Oscar in the box who tapped the ball into an empty net to give Guus Hiddink’s side the lead.
There wasn’t much action of note after the goal apart from an Azpilicueta shot that was saved in the 36th minute and a late shot from Jason Puncheon in injury time that was blocked.
Half Time: Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea
Second Half: Chelsea seal all three points
The second half saw Palace midfielder Mile Jedinak getting booked within 10 minutes for one foul too many. He was guilty of first fouling Willian before a frustrated tackle on Oscar earned him a yellow card.
Soon after, it was all Chelsea for the next 10 minutes as they scored two quick-fire goals. The first came from Willian on the counter-attack. His compatriot Oscar was dispossessed just before the final third and Willian pounced on the loose ball to drive home a screamer that beat Wayne Hennessey.
Willian was in the thick of the action again six minutes after the goal when he took another shot but Hennessey managed to palm it away, only for Costa to take advantage and score from near the post to make it 3-0 to Chelsea with 25 minutes to play.
Alan Pardew tried to ring in the changes in an attempt to get back into the game. Marouane Chamakh came on for Fraizer Campbell and Joe Ledley replaced Mile Jedinak, but it was Chelsea who dominated proceedings. Scott Dann also went into the book for a foul on Costa in the 80th minute.
With time running out, Hiddink decided to shut shop and replaced Oscar with Nemanja Matic, happy with the three goals. Three minutes of injury time added on couldn’t prevent Thibaut Courtois from keeping a clean sheet and Chelsea returned home with three points in the bag and a confidence booster ahead of their FA Cup tie.