In an exciting game at Selhurst Park, which included Wilfried Zaha ‘s stunning long-range strike and Christian Benteke ‘s remarkable goal, Chelsea further improved her place in the top four of the Premier League with victory over Crystal Palace.
There was an element of fortune about the game’s opening goal, with Palace defender Gary Cahill pulling up with a match-end injury enabling Willian to unimpeded drive into the box and setting Olivier Giroud up to finish.
The rest of the match, however, was a testament to the kind of fun, high-octane, see-saw football that attracts so many fans into England’s top-flight, even when the grounds are empty. Twice Chelsea seemed to have put the game beyond the home side, first through Christian Pulisic ‘s rising shot to make it 2-0 in the first half and then through Tammy Abraham’s tidy finish with 19 minutes to go to get the Blues 3-1 up.
But that supposedly without the input of Zaha and Benteke. Zaha ‘s goal was a magnificent shot, fired powerfully over the crossbar from an incredible distance into the net. Benteke’s was more routine, tapping in from point-blank after a smooth pass but just as surprising as his first goal at Selhurst Park since April 2018.
And Palace came within a whisker to steal a point when Scott Dann ‘s back-post header struck the inside of the post before Chelsea cleared the ball.
Chelsea’s win means they climb in the table above Leicester to the third position, five points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United.
Palace has too many points to think about getting drawn into a relegation battle with 42 to their credit, but manager Roy Hodgson and his side will be keen to end a losing streak that has now extended to four games.