Chelsea triumph in nervy London derby to go third

Following a hard-fought victory at Selhurst Park, Chelsea have leapfrogged Leicester into third on the standings.

The Blues kicked off before the Foxes hoping to go third for a while but Leicester’s failure to beat Arsenal means that Chelsea will end the latest round of fixtures in third.

Frank Lampard made one change to the team that defeated Watford. Billy Gilmour got the nod over Jorginho to replace the injured Kante.

Six minutes into the game, the west Londoners took the lead. Gary Cahill pulled his hamstring at a crucial moment and Willian had a free run towards goal. The Brazilian veteran’s cutback was tucked home by Olivier Giroud for his third goal since the restart.

Chelsea - Olivier Giroud.
Olivier Giroud hit the back of the net to open the scoring at Selhurst Park. All rights reserved by the Bleacher Report.

Willian turned provider once again in the 27th minute, setting up Christian Pulisic who fired beyond Guaita at the near post to continue his rich vein of form.

The American nearly returned the favour only for Guiata to deny Willian his fourth consecutive league goal.

Palace needed a way back into the game and Zaha, as he has done so many times, provided it once again.

A loose pass by Reece James was intercepted by van Aanholt who found Zaha just outside the Chelsea box. The Ivorian’s fierce shot flew past Kepa to halve the deficit. The Eagles were buoyed by Zaha’s goal and ended the first half on a high.

Chelsea - Wilfred Zaha.
Zaha’s fierce strike beat Kepa despite being struck down the middle of the goal. All rights reserved by the Irish Mirror.

Midway through the second half, Tammy Abraham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were introduced. The duo would go on to combine for Chelsea’s third which looked like the clincher.

However, shoddy defence by the Blues resulted in another goal for Palace straightaway. This time, Benteke was the scorer, latching onto Van Aanholt’s cross to tap home from close range to set up a frantic last 20 minutes of the game.

Deep into injury time, Chelsea survived what looked like a certain equalizer. Zaha’s cross to the back post was met by Scott Dann who headed across goal but was denied by the upright. With almost the last kick of the game, Benteke was played through on goal but was thwarted by a heroic tackle from Zouma.

That proved to be the last meaningful action as Chelsea triumphed over their London neighbours by a close shave.

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