By Gary Watton
April 1 2017
Lightning does obviously strike twice. Last season the Eagles travelled a few miles west whereupon they raided Stamford Bridge and left with a 2-1 win. Having said that, the circumstances of this smash and grab were significantly more different. Whereas Crystal Palace more than held their own on their previous visit, they found themselves this time weathering a storm of incessant attacking from a Chelsea team chastened by losing their early lead. Whilst the visitors deserve much credit for their ability to defend by hook and by crook, the hosts only have themselves to blame.
Chelsea, supposedly the champions-elect, had about eighty minutes to retrieve their early lead, and yet for all their advances, they failed to score. Not only was the setback a damning indictment of their ability to score against a packed defence, but the Premiership leaders look distinctly ropey at the back. A poor pass contributed to the equaliser, while a failed interception by David Luiz couldn't prevent Benteke scoring an unlikely winner.
The Blues must quickly regroup for the considerable challenge of Manchester Mercenaries. Any more defensive fragility and dropped points will only bolster Tottenham's very real hope of still snatching the top prize.
CHELSEA 1 Crystal Palace 2; half time: 1-2
CHELSEA goal scorer: Fabregas
CHELSEA team: Courtois; Azpilicueta; Luiz; Kante; Matic; Cahill; Alonso; Fabregas; Costa; Pedro; Hazard. Used substitutes: Willian, Batshuayi, Loftus-Cheek
CHELSEA leading scorers:
Costa eighteen goals
Hazard eleven goals (including two penalties)
Pedro eleven goals
Willian seven goals
Fabregas six goals
Batshuayi five goals (including one penalty)
Cahill five goals
Alonso four goals
Moses four goals