Chelsea maintain their unbeaten record with a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Goals from Oscar and Cesc Fabregas gave the Blues a 2-0 advantage, but a Fraizer Campbell goal in the 89th minute gave Palace a bit of hope, despite it being only a consolation.
However, referee Craig Pawson will take the headlines two sending-offs in the match, one for each side. First, in the 39th minute Cesar Azpilicueta caught Mile Jedinak with a high, lunging challenge near the halfway line and was promptly given his marching orders. Just three minutes later, Damien Delaney, in what had to be a moment of madness, pulled back Loic Remy and earned himself a second yellow, having already been booked for diving in on Remy and yelling at the referee.
Despite the red cards, a very good football match was played. Crystal Palace started off as the brighter side in the first half, creating the better chances. Campbell tortured Gary Cahill in opening minutes, latching onto a long ball, and turning the England international before forcing a save from Thibault Courtois. A minute later, Jason Puncheon’s corner narrowly evades the head of the diving Brede Hangeland, allowing Courtois to collect.
Chelsea decisively put an end to Palace’s bright start with a swerving free kick from 30 yards out from Oscar that left Julian Speroni flailing at air. Moments later, Campbell continued to torment Cahill by nearly taking advantage of Cahill’s poor back header, only to lob the ball onto the top of the net. Then he collected another long ball, turning Cahill inside out and fizzing the ball wide of the target.
However, Palace failed to break the Chelsea defence, but the Blues could have taken the lead in the 18th minute when John Terry’s glancing header was cleared off the line. Chelsea still could have found a second goal when Terry’s flicked header found Nemanja Matic, but the Serbian could only nod the ball wide.
Chelsea would find that second goal early in the second half with a brilliant piece of work by the Blues. Fabregas would initiate the move, playing one-twos with Eden Hazard and Oscar, and the Spaniard stroked the ball past Speroni for his first goal in Chelsea colours.
The remainder of the second half began to resemble a bit of a training session with Chelsea stroking the ball around very confidently with their 2-0 lead. However, Neil Warnock’s substitutions helped change the match. Wilfried Zaha was brought on for Puncheon and immediately brought a renewed sense of purpose. Zaha turned provider for their goal, beating Filipe Luis and sliding the ball across the goal for Campbell to tap-in, setting up a nervy finish.