Premier League
Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace0ChelseaChelsea3

Crystal Palace 0-3 Chelsea

By Aimee LewisBBC Sport
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

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

"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.


Crystal Palace

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 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


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


Formation 4-2-3-1

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


  • 1Begovic
  • 6Baba
  • 7Santos do Nascimento
  • 14Traore
  • 17Pedro
  • 21Matic
  • 36Loftus-Cheek
Kevin Friend

Match Stats

Home TeamCrystal PalaceAway TeamChelsea
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Crystal Palace 0, Chelsea 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 0, Chelsea 3.

  3. Post update

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

  4. Post update

    Foul by Marouane Chamakh (Crystal Palace).

  5. Post update

    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.

  6. Post update

    Hand ball by Pedro (Chelsea).

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Chelsea. Nemanja Matic replaces Oscar.

  8. Post update

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

  9. Post update

    Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Scott Dann.

  10. Post update

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

  11. Post update

    Foul by John Terry (Chelsea).

  12. Post update

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

  13. Post update

    Foul by Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea).

  14. Post update

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

  15. Post update

    Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Damien Delaney.

  16. Substitution

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

  17. Booking

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

  18. Post update

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

  19. Post update

    Foul by Scott Dann (Crystal Palace).

  20. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by John Terry.

As It Stood

3Man City20123539211839
5Man Utd209652417733
6West Ham208843023732
7Crystal Palace209472319431
12West Brom207582025-526
20Aston Villa2015141637-218
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