Crystal Palace earned an incredible 2-1 win over Chelsea at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon thanks to two first-half strikes from Yohan Cabaye and Wilfried Zaha.
On the back of seven Premier League losses without scoring a goal this season, Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace were not expected to get much from their matchup with champions Chelsea.
But it was the hosts who got off to the best possible start. The Eagles bagged their first league goal of the season after 11 minutes when Townsend’s cross found its way to Cabaye, whose strike deflected off Azpilicueta and into the net.
Their lead did not last long, however, as Chelsea found an equaliser seven minutes later. The Blues responded to going a goal down with their best spell of possession, which ultimately earned a corner. It was floated in dangerously and Bakayoko rose highest to head past Speroni.
The equaliser did not dampen Palace’s spirits and they kicked on by continuing to put pressure the Chelsea back line. Zaha beat two defenders just before the 30 minute mark before seeing a strike deflected just past the post.
Chelsea grew into the game and had an Alonso effort deflected wide before Fabregas fizzed a free-kick just over the bar, but it was the home side that took the lead on the stroke of half-time.
Sakho did superbly to rob Willian in midfield and he played in Zaha, whose touch allowed him to break free of two defenders before expertly slotting past Courtois.
Chelsea began the second 45 on the front foot and started to put the pressure on Palace’s back line. Fabregas saw a strike clip the crossbar before firing over minutes later after good work on the right from Zappacosta, and Hazard fizzed a wonderful through ball into the feet of substitute Pedro, but he couldn’t beat Speroni either.
Chelsea threw everything forward and had numerous half chances, but couldn’t break down a spirited Palace defence.
As Chelsea searched for an equaliser, the game became more open and chances were opening up for Palace on the break. The Blues couldn’t deal with Townsend’s pace mixed with Zaha’s flare, leading to a chance that could have sealed the three point for Hodgson’s men. Courtois parried a strike from Townsend and Van Aanholt, somehow, fired wide from close range on the rebound.
A final scare for the Eagles came when Sakho decided to try a backheel clearance in his own box, creating an injury time opportunity for Fabregas, but he blazed wide from a tight angle, sparing the defender’s blushes.
Palace held on to earn their first three points of the season in an incredible match. Hodgson will be delighted with his team’s fighting spirit, while Conte will be scratching his head as to why his team could not break down a side who had lost seven league games on the bounce.