Eagles have landed at Chelsea
Written By: Robert Halter
Chelsea faced Crystal Palace at home, end of August. In the fifth minute, a ball out wide by Jason Puncheon fell to the feet of Wilfried Zaha but his shot deflected off Blues captain, Branislav Ivanovic, onto the top of the outside netting. But on eighteen minutes, Willian sparked off a move for new Blues recruit, Pedro, but his curling strike drifted wide of the mark. At the mid point, a careless challenge by Conor Wickham on Gary Cahill, resulted in a short free kick being taken by Nemanja Matic, before a long range strike by Willian, flew over the top of the upright. But on twenty four minutes, Zaha put a ball through to Sako, and the outstretched leg of Thibaut Courtois, had to block the ball behind at his near post. Then on twenty eight minutes, Courtois again made an instinctive stop to palm away Yohan Cabaye’s side footed shot, after he was found unmarked by Zaha, who had collected a pass from Sako. In the thirty ninth minute, Cesar Azpilicueta’s ball in was too far over to reach Diego Costa, who was being marshalled by Damien Delaney. But on forty one minutes, the Blues went close, as Eden Hazard’s lay off to Costa, was met by a stinging strike, which Alex McCarthy could only palm into the path of Fabregas, whose follow up effort was scrambled away from the goal line by Scott Dann, before McCarthy pushed the ball to safety. Within a minute, from a Pedro pass, Matic weaved his way through but his shot lacked any power to trouble McCarthy. In the fifty second minute, from a Sako cross, the ball bobbled as in front of the target, Wickham, was unable to find a connection. Then two minutes later, Courtois had to pull off a save to fend away Sako’s driven in shot, through instrumental play by Jason Puncheon. The Eagles then brought on Yannick Bolasie for Zaha. On sixty three minutes, a stirring run by Costa, provided space for Pedro, but his effort was deflected behind off Joel Ward. From the Fabregas corner, Cahill’s header rebounded off James McArthur and the ball was headed off the line by Sako. But the Eagles broke on sixty five minutes as Pape Souare exchanged passes with Bolasie, and his low cross was won by Sako’s crunching tackle on Azpilicueta, before Sako drove the ball into the centre of the goal, past Courtois,. The Blues then took off Willian for Falcao and Azpilicueta with Kenedy. In the sixty ninth minute, Chelsea pressed for an equaliser, as Fabregas exchanged passes with Hazard, but the Spaniard agonisingly fired the ball over. In another Chelsea change Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaced Matic. On seventy four minutes, Sako caused more danger with a delivery down the right which picked out Bolasie at the back post, but although unmarked he was unable to tap the ball in and missed the target. A minute later, after Fabregas lost the ball to McArthur, the emerging Bolasie, sent a curling effort, narrowly past the top of the right post. But on seventy eight minutes, Chelsea drew level when from a Fabregas pass, a measured right wing cross by Pedro was met with a diving header by Falcao, which soared into the right side of the goal. But Palace were not to be undone, and within a minute were back in the lead, as from a Bolasie cross on the right, a knock back by Sako at the far post found Ward, who nodded the ball into the net. There were two more changes made by Palace, first Joe Ledley for Cabaye and Chung-yong Lee for Sako. Time was running out, after Falcao was fouled by McArthur and from a Fabregas free kick, Dann could only half clear from Kurt Zouma, and then as McArthur gave the ball away to Ivanovic, his drive was put wide by Falcao. At the end, McCarthy was at full stretch to push away a fierce blast by Fabregas, from a touch by Kenedy. Then there was more Eagles defending, after Zouma’s header to Pedro, as a Fabregas strike was blocked by Dann, in stoppage time as the Eagles won for the first time in the league at Stamford Bridge since March 1982 in what was Blues boss, Jose Mourinho’s 200th Premier League game and 100th at home.