Chelsea beaten at home by Palace

Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 2

Chelsea suffered just their second home defeat of the season as they wasted numerous chances at Stamford Bridge.

The Premier League leaders trailed at the interval despite taking an early lead through Cesc Fabregas, with Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke replying for Crystal Palace inside 12 frenetic minutes.

Chelsea, searching a 14th consecutive home victory in all competitions, piled forward but were thwarted by a combination of inspired defending and superb goalkeeping by Wayne Hennessey.

Fabregas turned the ball in off the post after great work by the fit-again Eden Hazard for the perfect start, but Zaha found the bottom corner and Benteke’s scooped finish on the break made it 2-1.

The frenetic pace continued with Chelsea dominating possession, territory and having a total of 24 efforts on goal.

Pedro, playing at right-wing back in place of the injured Victor Moses, had a strong claim for a penalty rejected when his goalbound effort was blocked by the arm of Andros Townsend, while Diego Costa forced a fine reaction save from Hennessey.

Hazard also went close with a fierce strike and Nemanja Matic forced a brilliant low stop from Hennessey.

The chances continued in the second period, with Costa going close on three occasions.

His best opportunity saw him head wide from close range when it looked harder to miss than score, while Fabregas also had a near-post shot blocked.

Palace could have wrapped up the victory on the counter-attack – notably through Zaha, who was denied by Thibaut Courtois.

But the Eagles did not a third goal to secure a fourth successive win, despite relentless pressure and ten minutes of added time following a serious injury to Scott Dann.

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Pedro, Kante, Matic [Willian 59], Alonso [Batshuayi 75]; Fabregas [Loftus-Cheek 90+7], Costa, Hazard.
Subs not used: Begovic, Zouma, Chalobah, Terry.