Alvaro Morata could, and perhaps SHOULD, have a hat-trick. He’s one-on-one with Hennessey, just the Palace keeper to beat. The crowd are on their feet in anticipation, but the Spaniard tries a cheeky lob and it’s saved with relative ease by the keeper. He should perhaps have put his foot through it, and his day ends with just the two goals.
Immediately after, the referee blows the full-time whistle and it’s all over. Palace stay 14th, three points above the relegation zone, while Chelsea rise to second. They’re two points behind the league leaders Manchester City.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa 6; Azpilicueta 6.5, Rudiger 7, Luiz 6.5, Alonso 7; Kante 6.5, Jorginho 7 (Fabregas 80), Barkley 6 (Kovacic 64, 6); Willian 6.5 (Hazard 64, 7), Morata 8, Pedro 7. Subs: Caballero, Loftus-Cheek, Zappacosta, Cahill.
Palace (4-4-2): Hennessey 7; Win-Bissaka 6.5, Tomkins 6, Sakho 5.5, Van Aanholt 6; McArthur 7 (Schlupp 80), Kouyate 6, Milivojevic 6, Meyer 6 (Ayew 71), Townsend 7, Zaha 6.5. Subs: Guaita, Sorloth, Kelly, Puncheon, Riedewald. Booked: Milivojevic.
Referee: Michael Oliver – 6.5
Even by Hazard’s sky-high standards, that was quite an introduction. But are we at all surprised?
Here at Stamford Bridge, Hazard dragged his team over the line as the Blues survived a mini wobble to maintain their unbeaten start to the season with a victory that moves them to second place behind Manchester City.
Whisper it, but the feeling Chelsea can be Pep Guardiola side’s nearest challengers this season is growing.
With Hazard in their team, who’d bet against that? Along with the Belgian, striker Morata was the other big winner in this London derby.
His brace will do his confidence no harm at all, even if he did miss a golden chance to complete his hat-trick with virtually the last kick of the game.
But the early exchanges offered little insight of how this game would finish as Palace made light of their recent struggles to start brightly.
As you’d expect Wilfried Zaha led the away team’s charge, a nimble run into the box had Chelsea’s defence panicking inside the opening five minutes.
Indeed, Palace’s talisman conjured the first real opportunity of the encounter, teeing up Max Meyer on the edge of the box only for the German to fire wildly over in the 20th minute.