Chelsea continued their great run of form in the Premier League as they beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at the Selhurst Park on Saturday. A goal from Diego Costa was enough to seal the eleventh victory on a trot for Antonio Conte’s men and with the win they extended their lead to 9 points at the top of the table.
Chances came in a good number for Chelsea and if not for an inspired Wayne Hennessey in the Palace goal, the scoreline would’ve read differently. Alan Pardew’s men too had their fair share of chances, with Wilfried Zaha continuing to impress, but the Eagles failed to make them count and had to pay the price.
On what turned out to be another crucial triumph for the Blues, let’s take a look at three important talking points from the game:
Costa continues to be the difference
Diego Costa scored the only goal on the day, with a peach of a header after rising highest to meet a ball from Cesar Azpilicueta, in the first half. It was his 13th goal of the season, highest in the Premier League, that helped Chelsea get three points from the game.
In the fixture against Tony Pulis’ West Bromwich Albion last weekend, it was Costa who was the difference between the two sides as he scored the only goal in that game as well to keep Chelsea’s winning run intact.
The Spaniard has been an absolute key for Antonio Conte this season and is one of the biggest reasons that Chelsea are so comfortably ahead in the table. So, given that he will miss their next game against Bournemouth, owing to the yellow card he picked up on Saturday, his fifth of the season, Chelsea are going to miss him very badly against the Cherries who have been on a decent run themselves, especially with the second striker Michy Batshuayi having hardly played so far.
Pardew’s job in danger
Crystal Palace are clearly struggling to get it right. The Eagles are in the 17th position in the table and are just a single point above the relegation zone, and the threat of the drop to the Championship looms large.
Alan Pardew’s men, since October, have managed to win just once and draw twice in eleven games in the league. Five points out of the 33 available is just not good enough. Pardew has a good squad at his hand, with some quality players in Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha, Yohan Cabaye and Andros Townsend etc., and the run of poor results with such a talented squad aren’t doing good for the manager’s job security.
The former Newcastle manager was under the threat of the sack before the win against Southampton, but now that Palace are again on a streak of bad results, the sword is once again hanging on Pardew’s head.
Title race is Chelsea’s to lose
Chelsea are enjoying an unbelievable run since October. The Blues have won all their 11 games in the Premier League since the 1st of October, beating the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur along the way.
They have conceded only twice in those 11 games, one goal each against Spurs and City, and have managed to keep their opponents from scoring in the 9 other fixtures. This goes on to indicate how strong their three-man defence of Azpilicueta, Luiz and Cahill have been performing, along with the wing-backs Moses and Alonso.
They also have scored 25 times during the same period, with the attacking triumvirate of Hazard, Costa and Pedro on top form. In the recent weeks, Willian and Cesc Fabregas too have managed to chip in with crucial goals, highlighting the strength the Blues possess in attack.
A title-winning campaign is built on such runs. Goals in plenty, conceding few and winning the tough fixtures, Chelsea are deservedly at the top of the league currently with 43 points, 9 ahead of second-placed Liverpool who have a game in hand and while there still is plenty of football to be played, it surely is Chelsea’s race to lose now.