Premier League
Crystal Palace0Chelsea3

Crystal Palace 0-3 Chelsea

Willian scores for Chelsea
Willian's stunning 20-yard strike was his eighth goal of the season for Chelsea

Chelsea secured their first victory in Guus Hiddink's second spell as boss to move six points clear of relegation with a deserved win at Crystal Palace.

Oscar put the Blues ahead against the run of play, tapping home after being put through by Diego Costa.

Once they scored Chelsea dominated, deservedly doubling their advantage with a spectacular Willian strike.

Costa sealed the win with a tap-in for a goal his performance deserved after Palace failed to clear Willian's shot.

Interim boss Hiddink, who guided Chelsea to third in the Premier League, a Champions League semi-final and the FA Cup in his first spell at the club, remains unbeaten since taking over from Jose Mourinho last month.

The Blues' four-match run without defeat is their longest this season and moves last year's champions to 14th in the league, still 13 points adrift of a Champions League spot.

Costa leads by example

John Mikel Obi heatmap
John Mikel Obi was superb for Chelsea and this heatmap shows the midfielder dominated the area in front of his own defence

Chelsea's away form in the first half of the season has been dire, with just six points collected on their travels. Only bottom two clubs Aston Villa and Sunderland have fared worse.

In beating seventh-placed Palace for their first away win since August, the Blues made a convincing case that the second half of the season might be more fruitful.

Hiddink said he needed leaders to pull the club out of relegation trouble and in Costa the Dutchman had a player in that mould, driving his team forward at Selhurst Park and playing a part in all three goals.

Like the rest of the Blues squad during this season's dreadful title defence, the Spaniard - who had missed the goalless draw at Manchester United because of suspension - has been below par, but he gave one of his best displays of the campaign.

John Mikel Obi also shone, providing much-needed ballast to the Chelsea midfield.

Eden Hazard
Hazard was criticised by Mourinho for not playing on while injured against Leicester City last month

Injury worry for Blues

The one disappointment for Hiddink was the injury to Eden Hazard, which ended the Belgian's match after just 15 minutes.

Before the match Hiddink had said last year's player of the season was "back in shape" after suffering a hip injury against Leicester and sustaining a knock in Monday's draw at Manchester United.

Ultimately, Chelsea did not need Hazard against Palace with the impressive forward trio of Costa, Willian and Oscar creating plenty in his absence.

Palace struggling in front of goal

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Palace must 'wipe our nose and move on'

It was Palace's first defeat in seven matches and they clearly missed key players, although Eagles boss Alan Pardew admitted that even with the likes of suspended Yohan Cabaye in the team his men would have struggled against Chelsea in such form.

The hosts, though, are a far less formidable side without the creativity of top scorer Cabaye in midfield, the pace of Yannick Bolasie on the flanks and Connor Wickham up front.

Palace are now without a win or a goal in their past three games, with Bolasie and Wickham not having played since the goalless Boxing Day draw against Bournemouth.

However, Pardew's side had their chances with Wilfried Zaha - making his 200th appearance for the club - shooting wide with the score goalless and scuffing another opportunity just before Willian scored.

Man of the Match - Diego Costa

Diego Costa
The Spaniard played a key part in securing Chelsea their biggest league win of the season, assisting Oscar and claiming his seventh goal this term. He covered more than 10k in a tenacious display.

What the managers said

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"Chelsea desperately needed this win," says Hiddink

Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink: "Do not go over the top, it is the first win after a worrying period with two draws so the team desperately needed the win and it was convincing.

"Everyone knows we have a lot of quality in our team, but sometimes champions have a tendency to be complacent and it can be difficult to get back and then wonder why we were champions.

"There is a long way to go, mathematically the possibility of Champions League is still there. The league is so strong but as long as we play like we did today I will be happy."

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew: "We were not at our strongest, we were missing key players and could not play our natural game.

"We will be looking at the market in case something comes through. It is important we kick into gear in the second half of the season. Things did not go our way and we have to respond and I have every confidence in this group that we will be in and around the top 10."

The stats you need to know

  • This is Chelsea's first away victory in their last eight Premier League away matches (losing four and drawing three) and the first since August when they beat West Brom 3-2 at the Hawthorns.
  • Crystal Palace have enjoyed just two wins in their last seven home league games (drawing two and losing three).
  • Oscar has netted two in his last four in all competitions for Chelsea after scoring just one in the 14 before that.
  • Diego Costa's assist was his first in his last 20 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea.
  • Seven of Willian's eight goals for Chelsea this season in all competitions have come from outside the box.
  • Costa has had a hand in four goals in his last two league games (three goals, one assist), the same total he managed in his previous 14 league appearances this season.
  • Chelsea registered their biggest league win in almost a year, since beating Swansea 5-0 on January 17th 2015.

Line-ups

Crystal Palace

  • 13Hennessey
  • 2Ward
  • 6DannBooked at 80mins
  • 27DelaneyBooked at 13mins
  • 23Souaré
  • 18McArthur
  • 15JedinakBooked at 57minsSubstituted forLedleyat 67'minutes
  • 42Puncheon
  • 11Zaha
  • 14LeeSubstituted forWilliamsat 80'minutes
  • 9CampbellSubstituted forChamakhat 67'minutes

Substitutes

  • 12McCarthy
  • 20Williams
  • 22Mutch
  • 26Sako
  • 28Ledley
  • 29Chamakh
  • 34Kelly

Chelsea

  • 13Courtois
  • 2Ivanovic
  • 5Zouma
  • 26Terry
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 4Fàbregas
  • 12Mikel
  • 22Willian
  • 8OscarSubstituted forMaticat 88'minutes
  • 10E HazardSubstituted forPedroat 16'minutes
  • 19Diego Costa

Substitutes

  • 1Begovic
  • 6Baba
  • 7Santos do Nascimento
  • 14Traore
  • 17Pedro
  • 21Matic
  • 36Loftus-Cheek
Referee:
Kevin Friend
Attendance:
24,854

Match Stats

Home TeamCrystal PalaceAway TeamChelsea
Possession
Home40%
Away60%
Shots
Home8
Away10
Shots on Target
Home4
Away4
Corners
Home5
Away7
Fouls
Home12
Away15

Live Text

Match ends, Crystal Palace 0, Chelsea 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 0, Chelsea 3.

John Obi Mikel (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Marouane Chamakh (Crystal Palace).

Attempt saved. Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Marouane Chamakh.

Hand ball by Pedro (Chelsea).

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Nemanja Matic replaces Oscar.

Attempt missed. Diego Costa (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Willian.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Scott Dann.

Attempt blocked. Oscar (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Pedro.

Foul by John Terry (Chelsea).

Marouane Chamakh (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea).

Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Damien Delaney.

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jonathan Williams replaces Lee Chung-yong.

Booking

Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Diego Costa (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Scott Dann (Crystal Palace).

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by John Terry.

Oscar (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace).

Foul by César Azpilicueta (Chelsea).

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt blocked. Pedro (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Oscar with a headed pass.

Foul by John Obi Mikel (Chelsea).

Lee Chung-yong (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Joe Ledley replaces Mile Jedinak.

Substitution

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Marouane Chamakh replaces Fraizer Campbell.

Goal!

Goal! Crystal Palace 0, Chelsea 3. Diego Costa (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the top left corner.

Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace).

Attempt blocked. Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Lee Chung-yong.

Goal!

Goal! Crystal Palace 0, Chelsea 2. Willian (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Oscar.

Attempt saved. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Fraizer Campbell.

Diego Costa (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Scott Dann (Crystal Palace).

Booking

Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card.

Oscar (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal20133434181642
2Leicester20117237251240
3Man City20123539211839
4Tottenham2099234161836
5Man Utd209652417733
6West Ham208843023732
7Crystal Palace209472319431
8Liverpool208662224-230
9Watford208572522329
10Stoke208572121029
11Everton206953629727
12West Brom207582025-526
13Southampton206682624224
14Chelsea206592629-323
15Norwich206592332-923
16Bournemouth205692234-1221
17Swansea204791726-919
18Newcastle2045111935-1617
19Sunderland2043132239-1715
20Aston Villa2015141637-218
View full Premier League table

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