New Year, New Chelsea FC: Willian Spurs Blues To 3-0 Romp


Chelsea FC dispatched Crystal Palace 3-0 this afternoon as a refreshed and reborn Blues team secured a much-needed victory.

Oscar, Willian and Diego Costa all got on the scoresheet today as Chelsea romped to a 3-0 win over high-flying Crystal Palace. In arguably their best performance of the season, the Blues eased past Alan Pardew’s men, brining New Year-optimism to Chelsea fans everywhere.

Interim boss Guus Hiddink made a couple of changes from the side that drew against Manchester United. Cesc Fabregas was reinstated after missing out with illness as Nemanja Matic dropped to the bench. Diego Costa also returned after serving his one-match suspension as Pedro made way.

Crystal Palace, meanwhile, were desperately hampered by injuries to their attacking players while Yohan Cabaye was ineligible due to his one-game ban.

The match started sluggishly, with the highlight being a nasty collision involving Cesar Azpilicueta and Jason Puncheon. The Palace winger unintentionally caught the Spaniard’s head as he legitimately followed through after crossing the ball.

There would be more concern for the Blues when Hazard pulled up clutching his hamstring barely ten minutes into the contest. He attempted to soldier on before signalling to the bench that a change was required minutes later. He trudged off the field for Pedro.

Chelsea fans would have been forgiven for fearing what was in store and Palace did little to suppress their nerves. Wilfried Zaha was denied by an outstanding recovery challenge from Kurt Zouma while Puncheon’s dangerous cross was scuffed wide by Fraizer Campbell. It was certainly a chance.

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However, the Blues finally kicked into life in the 29th minute. Diego Costa made a great run, essentially forcing Cesc Fabregas into the pass. A beautifully weighted ball took out Damien Delaney, allowing the striker to easily cut it back to an on-rushing Oscar. Chelsea had taken the lead.

Cesar Azpilicueta would have the last real chance of the half, drawing a decent save out of Wayne Hennessey from a tight angle. Referee Kevin Friend then brought the first period to a close, with ‘entertaining’ not high on the list of applicable adjectives. At least the Blues were on top.

The second half threatened to continue on the dull path, with a Zouma header being the only event of note in the first 15 minutes. On the end of a brilliant Willian delivery, the defender should have doubled the lead.

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It would be the Brazilian, though, who would again spark the contest into life with half an hour left. Some tidy passing from the Blues resulted in the ball falling at the feet of Willian. Chelsea’s player of the season so far unleashed his right foot, belting the ball into the top right corner of the goal. A simply unstoppable strike.

Willian would then contribute to the third goal mere minutes later, waltzing into the box and dragging the ball across it. Poor goalkeeping left Diego Costa with a straightforward tap-in which he converted, even though a deflection was involved.

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The game then died, as Chelsea were comfortable with their three-goal cushion. The travelling Blues support took the opportunity to serenade the likes of Willian but the principal target of their admiration was someone strikingly different. John Obi Mikel had a terrific game and was rightly recognised by those in attendance and those watching at home.

Crystal Palace, meanwhile, were made to rue their unbelievably awful standard of crossing. Even as Chelsea stood off as the match drew to a close, the Palace wingers and full-backs were unable to stick a decent ball into the box. The sight of crosses ballooning over the area or into the crowd plagued their display.

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Chelsea, though, will be looking upwards as they sit six points off 10th position. The top four is a long way off, but if the real Blues are back, as indicated by this performance, then a rapid ascent cannot be ruled out. Scunthorpe United in the FA Cup await next Sunday.

Crystal PalaceChelsea FC
Wayne HennesseyThibaut Courtois
Joel WardBranislav Ivanovic
Scott DannKurt Zouma
Damien DelaneyJohn Terry
Pape SouareCesar Azpilicueta
Lee Chung-Yong (Jonny Williams - 80')John Obi Mikel
Mile Jedinak (Joe Ledley - 67')Cesc Fabregas
James McArthurWillian
Jason PuncheonOscar (Nemanja Matic - 88')
Wilfried ZahaEden Hazard (Pedro - 16')
Fraizer Campbell (Marouane Chamakh - 67')Diego Costa