Crystal Palace 2-3 Chelsea: Abraham strike proves decisive in Selhurst thriller

Just as in their previous away game, Chelsea were involved in a five-goal thriller but this time they prevailed against Crystal Palace.

Chelsea climbed to third place in the Premier League with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Tuesday.

Frank Lampard’s Champions League hopefuls surged ahead with goals from Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic, before Wilfried Zaha hit back in stunning fashion.

Giroud’s opener came after just six minutes as the visitors capitalised on the misfortune of former Chelsea player Gary Cahill.

The in-form Pulisic doubled the Blues’ lead in emphatic style before the half-hour mark, but Zaha’s wonder-strike kept the away side on their toes.

Tammy Abraham’s cool 71st-minute finish was followed promptly by a Christian Benteke tap-in, but Roy Hodgson’s men were still condemned to a fourth straight defeat after Scott Dann was denied by the post at the death.

Chelsea broke the deadlock when Cahill appeared to pull a hamstring chasing Reece James’ ball in behind, allowing Willian time and space to pick out Giroud to steer home from close range.

With Cahill off injured, Palace’s day went from bad to worse when Pulisic lashed in from 12 yards, with Willian again providing the assist. 

The lively Willian went close to a grabbing a goal of his own, but Vicente Guaita proved equal to the Brazilian’s side-footed effort.

Palace sprung into action in a spectacular manner soon after, Zaha arrowing a glorious strike beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga from 30 yards.

Abraham’s precise finish from Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s neat pass appeared to put the game to bed but Chelsea switched off and Patrick van Aanholt laid on an unmissable chance for Benteke barely a minute later.

However, Palace were unable to complete the comeback, with Dann’s header hitting the upright deep into stoppage time as Chelsea, beaten 3-2 in their previous away game at West Ham, reversed that scoreline this time.

What does it mean? Chelsea hunting Foxes

It is tight in the battle for a top-four finish, with Chelsea putting five points between themselves and fifth-placed Manchester United. They also edged ahead of Leicester City and into third ahead of the Foxes’ clash with Arsenal. Palace, meanwhile, stay 14th.

Willian the key to unlock Palace

Willian, who had two assists, has now been involved in six goals since the resumption of the Premier League campaign, level with Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes as the division’s most productive player in that time frame. He created a game-high five chances.

A reunion to forget for Cahill

Cahill won two top-flight titles and the Champions League with Chelsea, but this reunion with his old club will not make the scrap book. He was not to blame for the opener, as pure bad luck saw him struck by injury at exactly the wrong moment.

Key Opta Facts

– Chelsea have now won 132 of their 256 London derbies in the Premier League; their 52 per cent win rate is the highest for any side in such matches.

– Crystal Palace have lost four consecutive matches for the first time since March 2018 – the fourth game in that run was also against Chelsea.

– Frank Lampard is the first English Chelsea boss to achieve a league double over Crystal Palace since Dave Sexton in 1971-72.

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– Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in his last eight Premier League appearances; his previous five goals in the competition were spread across 49 games.

What’s next?

Chelsea head to Sheffield United on Saturday, with Palace taking on struggling Aston Villa on the road the next day.





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