Crystal Palace have finally registered their first points of the season after seven straight defeats. Surprisingly, their victory comes against reigning champions Chelsea; who themselves have suffered a second straight defeat for the first time this season.
Resurgent Crystal Palace shock Champions Chelsea at Selhurst
Out of the blocks flying
Palace made their intentions clear straight from the whistle. Wilfried Zaha, returning from injury after a six game absence, had an early chance saved before nearly finding Yohan Cabaye inside the box a few minutes later
After 10 minutes of domination, Palace finally got their break as Yohan Cabaye’s shot bounced into the net off Cesar Azpilicueta, giving his side their first goal in over 731 minutes of Premier League football.
However, their joy was short lived as an unmarked Tiemoue Bakayoko headed in from a corner to equalise for Chelsea.
Despite this, however, Palace held their heads high and resumed their assault on the Chelsea box, Andros Townsend coming the closest as he bent his shot just wide of the post.
Chelsea were forced to make an early substitution as Victor Moses was replaced by 25-year-old Davide Zappacosta after suffering an injury with five minutes of the half to go.
Then, Mamadou Sakho, after some brilliant defensive work to win the ball back, set up Zaha who slotted it past Thibaut Courtois. Palace were back in front on the stroke of half time.
Holding resolute for 45
Palace started the second half the same way the opened the first, with Cabaye’s early shot held by Courtois.
However, they had to defend deeper as the half went on as Chelsea continued to crank up the pressure. Substitute Zappacosta, making his first appearance for the champions, saw a good chance deflected off Patrick van Aanholt. Marcus Alonso headed over from a corner. Chelsea’s best chance came in the 73rd minute, as Alonso saw another header cleared off the line by Palace keeper Julian Speroni.
Palace had chances of their own though, utilising the pace of Zaha and Townsend with their familiar counterattacking game. They could’ve wrapped the game up just before injury time. Townsend fired wide after a superb link up with his fellow front man.
A performance to be proud of
It’s no word of a lie to say that Palace thoroughly deserved their win today. Particularly in the first half, their showed far more passion and desire than at any other point this season. Huge credit must also go to manager Roy Hodgson for playing a 4-4-2 formation despite having no available strikers after Christian Benteke’s injury. With games against Newcastle and West Ham next up, the Eagles will need to keep this momentum going. They still need to claw back points they will need to stay up.
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