Chelsea continued their incredible run with a third successive 1-0 win in the Premier League seeing them beat Crystal Palace. Here’s how we rated the players in the victory at Selhurst Park.
Thibaut Courtois: 7
He didn’t have a save to make in the first half and only had to deal with two attempts on goal after the break. His save from Yohan Cabaye was decent, his concentration was good and his catching and distribution were excellent.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 9
Yet another brilliant, dominant defensive display, this time capped by a delicious hanging cross for Diego Costa’s first-half header. Azpilicueta’s aerial ability is not to be under-estimated and was needed against a Palace side who looked to make the most of Christian Benteke’s presence.
David Luiz: 8
The Brazilian was outstanding and much more settled after a couple of performances that seemed to be affected by the knock he took against Manchester City. Solid, dependable and no-nonsense.
Gary Cahill: 8
Like Luiz he played cautiously but also used the ball well when he could, and supported the attack when possible.
Victor Moses: 7
He made a couple of rash challenges and was probably fortunate not to be booked, but defended resolutely, showed sound positional sense and was an increasing attacking threat as the match progressed.
Nemanja Matic: 7
The Serbian was recalled at Cesc Fabregas’s expense for his greater defensive awareness and provided the stability needed against a Palace side who showed much more ambition than Sunderland in midweek.
N’Golo Kante: 8
He almost scored with a fizzing second-half strike from the edge of the area and a low shot, and generally it was a typically busy performance full of industry and effective midfield closing and pressure.
Marcos Alonso: 8
The Spaniard was once again able to maraud forward at will without neglecting his defensive duties and could easily have ended up with a hat-trick. He had a fierce volley that went just wide, a stinging angled strike that forced a fine save from Wayne Hennessy and smashed the bar with a fabulous free-kick.
A more than adequate display by the Brazilian, who was tidy and dangerous before his lack of match fitness began to tell after the break. He deserved his starting place after impressing against Sunderland and did not disappoint – albeit he was not at his best.
Eden Hazard: 8
Looked sharp throughout, with his elusive running from central areas exposing a slight lack of mobility in the Palace midfield of Yohan Cabaye, Joe Ledley and James McArthur. This was perfectly illustrated in Costa’s goal and the Belgian’s movement and direct approach remained after the break.
Diego Costa: 8
His 13th goal of the season was beautifully taken to put Chelsea in control. Otherwise, it was a measured display, full of quality, fine off-the-ball work and his standard astute hold-up play. He should have been alert to make the most of what would have been an easy tap-in when Kante’s low shot was pushed out.
Cesc Fabregas: 8
Introduced to bring much-needed composure with the home side on top. And he did that immediately, instigating numerous attacks, retaining possession better and, crucially, making the most of the counter-attacking opportunities to create one or two chances. He looks a class apart when he is given any sort of space.
Branislav Ivanovic: 6
Played his part in the final 15 minutes, winning his headers and clearing his lines with little fuss, although one silly tackle gave away a needless free-kick.