Chelsea 2-1 Palace
Crystal Palace were unlucky to fall to a third consecutive defeat against top five teams despite being second best for large periods at Stamford Bridge. Two first-half goals saw Chelsea into a deserved lead at the break, but both strikes saw luck completely desert the Eagles.
Willian struck first through a deflected effort that just evaded the hand of the despairing Wayne Hennessey before rolling in off the post. The second summed up Palace’s fortunes of late as Zappacosta’s shot was blocked on the line by Martin Kelly only for the ball to bounce into the back of Hennessey, back onto Kelly and into the back of the net.
Chelsea missed several throughout the match, with Hennessey denying Willian, Giroud and Hazard. The former Arsenal man also struck the post, but Roy Hodgson’s men were not chanceless and might have come away with a point but for a refereeing mistake.
After James Tomkins had knocked down a corner, both Jairo Riedewald and Gary Cahill challenged for the loose ball. Riedelwald started to go for the ball, which was knee-high, with his foot but pulled out of the challenge when Cahill decided to dive in head first to the ball. The ball fell to Sorloth, and the Norwegian youngster thought he had his first Palace goal. Instead, Anthony Taylor blew his whistle and left everyone watching baffled by his decision.
Patrick van Aanholt went on to pull a goal back, his second in a week, for the visitors in the 88th minute, but Hodgson’s men couldn’t complete the fightback.
Wilfried Zaha Returns
Every time Wilf has been injured, he has come back in better shape. This time looks to be no different. His upper body strength appears to have increased yet again as he brushed aside several Chelsea defenders during his second-half cameo. As for playing rust, there were no signs as he didn’t misplace a pass, dribbled at will and provided an incredible reverse-pass assist for the van Aanholt goal.
As long as Huddersfield don’t kick him off the pitch again next week – he has arrived back just at the right time to spearhead our survival bid.
Man of the Match: James Tomkins
His clearance off the line was remarkable and all game long he kept Chelsea at bay when all around him failed. Zaha’s return might see him catapult himself back to a shoe-in for Player of the Year, but at the moment Tomkins is running him close.
Earlier in the season when Wilfried Zaha won a couple of penalties for Palace, Chris Sutton took out a vendetta against the Palace forward. Whether it was in the Daily Mail or on BT Sport, the former Blackburn and Chelsea man would call him a cheat and urge the FA to ban him. It seemed that a build-up of tabloid and pundit pressure resulted in a panel looking at one of the fouls on Zaha and the panel ruled that he was, you guessed it, fouled. Apparently being proven innocent wasn’t enough for Sutton has he continued to call Wilf a cheat.
Sutton was on the panel for this match that was live on BT Sport, and his “analysis” of the disallowed Palace goal had my jaw hitting my chest. Fair play to Chris, he did say that the goal should have stood, however, he went on to say that Cahill was both “smart” and “clever” for putting his head down low and then pretending that he was fouled.
So, in your eyes Chris, when you deem that Zaha has cheated you’re outraged. But when Cahill cheats, and you yourself acknowledged that he did cheat, it is “clever” and “smart”? Which one is, Chris? Is cheating "clever" and "smart" or is it cheating?
Put a picture of Cahill and Zaha side by side. What’s the main difference between the two?
Taylor has now cost us three points this season. After giving Everton a penalty for a dive at Selhurst, he has now disallowed a goal that would have, maybe, seen us earn a valuable point. I wonder what his punishment is going to be?
Up Next: Huddersfield
Mike Dean better book every player that breathes on Wilf. If they are allowed to injure him again, then something needs to occur.
Come on you Palace!