Chelsea maintained their five point advantage at the top of the table despite Cesar Azpilicueta’s red card, thanks to goals from Oscar and Cesc Fabregas. The Blues were without front man Diego Costa, but they survived that setback and a late rally from the home side as they kept up their unbeaten start to the season.
The Blues had Loic Remy making his first Premier League start for the club in place of Costa, who is rumoured to be out for the next three weeks. Despite that, they opened the scoring after just six minutes when Brazilian Oscar rifled home a 25 yard free kick. The midfielder has been in stellar form of late and topped it off with this goal, showing he isn’t feeling the effects of his long trip to China last weekend.
Chelsea went down to 10 men later in the half, when left back Azpilicueta was sent off. Just three minutes later the Eagles’ Damien Delaney was shown a second yellow card and both sides were even once again. Just inside the second half, Cesc Fabregas doubled the visitors’ advantage. The Spaniard played a neat one-two with Eden Hazard before playing another with Oscar, slicing through the defence, and then finished wit consummate ease. After the game manager Jose Mourinho described the goal as, “scandalously good”.
But Palace pushed hard for the points late on in the game. They’ve looked solid in recent weeks under new manager Neil Warnock, and they carried on their tough reputation here. Wilfred Zaha pushed past Chelsea defender Filipe Luis to set up Campbell who swept the ball home in the 90th minute. The home side continued to push in to stoppage time, but Chelsea held out as they picked their seventh win from eight games so far this season.
After the game Jose Mourinho praised his side, and he also repeated a trick from last season. When asked what they lacked after their 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace last season, the manager wrote, “Balls”, on a note pad. After today’s game, when asked what his side had gained over the summer, he wrote, “Big Balls”. Showing the Portuguese isn’t always as moody and steely faced as some try to make out.
Mourinho explained his scribble by saying, “The way we imposed our game is what I mean. In the way they play, they are better than us. If we come here and don’t impose our game, we have no chance. From minute one to 94, we did that. We were always in control. We played a fantastic game and when it was 10 versus 10, it made it even easier. The second goal was a scandal, it was unbelievably good!”
When asked if his side are now champions elect, he replied that nothing was decided yet. “In another sort of League, I could already say we WILL be champions,” said Mourinho. “In the Premier League, I can only say that we can be.”
LCN man of the match: Oscar