Chelsea were handed a shock defeat at Selhurst Park on Saturday as Crystal Palace won their first game of the Premier League season. An early own goal from Cesar Azpilicueta and a Wilfried Zaha strike before the break were enough to cancel out Tiemoue Bakayoko's first Premier League goal and see Roy Hodgson's side to victory.
A lazy performance from the Chelsea backline allowed Crystal Palace to notch their first two goals of the season, as well as their first points of the campaign.
Not one, but two
It was clear from kick off that the home side meant business, putting the pressure on early and getting their reward after just ten minutes. Andros Townsend's cross from the right flank found Yohan Cabaye, who saw his tame effort deflect off of Cesar Azpilicueta and roll into the net. A scrappy goal to open Crystal Palace's account for the season, but a goal nonetheless.
Chelsea were level sooner rather than later as Cesc Fabregas' corner found the head of Tiemoue Bakayoko for his first ever Premier League goal. Despite going level, Chelsea never looked the better side throughout the first half. Wilfried Zaha was denied by a good save from Thibaut Courtois before going agonizingly close moments later.
Roy Hodgson's tactics of not employing a recognized striker continued to give Chelsea problems and it paid off just before halftime as Zaha's powerful effort found the bottom corner to make it 2-1. Two goals in the first half for Crystal Palace as opposed to zero goals in their first seven games of the season.
Out of Ideas
Chelsea began the second half in positive fashion, going close to an equalizer just five minutes in. Fabregas's shot from distance beat Julian Speroni, but clipped the top of the crossbar. With just under half an hour to go, Chelsea stepped up the intensity, peppering Speroni's goal with shots but the 'keeper did well to keep them out. Chelsea's best chance in the final 20 minutes fell to Marcos Alonso, who watched his header stopped on the line by Speroni.
Crystal Palace had a chance late on to make it 3-1 as Patrick Van Aanholt pounced upon a rebound inside the area, but somehow, the defender fired wide. One final chance fell Chelsea's way in stoppage time as Mamadou Sakho inexplicably tried a backheel in his own area, which fell to Fabregas, but the midfielder could only fired across the face of goal.
The home side managed to hold on for a monumental victory, which may be the spark they needed to kickstart their season. On the other hand, an awfully disappointing display from Chelsea gives them a second consecutive defeat and creates a bigger gap between them and the two Manchester sides.
Chelsea will aim to bounce back against Roma in the Champions League in midweek, while Crystal Palace prepare for a trip to Newcastle United next week.