Zaha’s Brace Nails Manchester United To Opening Game Defeat

Zaha celebrating scoring a goal against Manchester United in a Premier League game on 19/9/2020. Photo: [email protected] Crystal Palace

 

Ivory Coast forward, Wilfred Zaha bagged a brace to help Crystal Palace nail Manchester United to a 1-3 defeat in their opening game of the 2020/2021 season. 

On the second weekend of the new campaign, United were playing for the first time after being given an extra week of rest due to their involvement in the latter stages of last season’s Europa League.

But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s lethargic side were well below their best and Palace took full advantage thanks to Andros Townsend’s seventh-minute strike and Zaha’s 74th-minute penalty against his former club.

There was a hint of controversy about Zaha’s goal as VAR ruled Victor Lindelof had handled Jordan Ayew’s shot even though the ball was hit with force at him from close quarters.

David De Gea saved Ayew’s spot-kick, but VAR intervened again to order a retake as United’s keeper had strayed off his line and this time Zaha converted from the spot.

 


Crystal Palace’s Ivorian striker Wilfried Zaha shoots to score their second goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on September 19, 2020. / AFP / POOL / Martin Rickett.

 

United’s only major close-season signing Donny van de Beek came off the bench and the former Ajax midfielder reduced the deficit with a debut goal in the 80th minute.

But Zaha, who endured a difficult spell at United before rejoining Palace, showed why the Eagles are so keen to keep him amid speculation over his future as the Ivory Coast winger lashed home in the 85th minute.

For the first time in six years, United were beaten in their opening league game.

It was a chastening start to the season for United, who have come under fire from fans frustrated at their relatively modest transfer outlay compared to their title rivals.

AFP

 

Premier League Side Crystal Palace Sign Super Eagles Prospect Ebere Eze

Ebere eze
Ebere has represented England at U-20 and U21 levels. Photo: [email protected] Palace.

 

 

Eberechi Eze became Roy Hodgson’s most expensive signing in his time as Crystal Palace manager on Friday, joining for a reported £20 million ($26.5 million) from second-tier Queens Park Rangers.

Hodgson saw off rivals West Bromwich Albion and West Ham to secure the signature of the 22-year-old forward, who penned a five-year contract.

Eze, who scored 20 goals in 112 appearances for QPR and has been capped at Under-20 and Under-21 level by England, said Palace offered the chance for him to develop as a player. he

“As a football club, I feel like there are great players here and it’s a brilliant opportunity for me to come and be with these players, to link up with them and to really push on,” he said in a club statement.

Palace succeeded at the third time of asking after having bids of £8 million and £12 million rejected.

“Eberechi is a player whose development we have followed closely,” said Palace chairman Steve Parish.

“We are delighted he has chosen to sign for us over the other clubs that were interested and we feel that this is the right club for him to continue his development.”

QPR manager Mark Warburton had stipulated Eze would only leave if the club’s £20 million valuation was met.

The deal is reportedly for £16 million upfront with £4 million in potential add-ons.

Belgium striker Christian Benteke remains Palace’s most expensive signing, bought for an initial £27 million in August 2016.

AFP

Chelsea Narrowly Edge Crystal Palace In Five-Goal Thriller

Chelsea's US midfielder Christian Pulisic (C) is chased by Crystal Palace's Senegalese midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate (R) during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park in south London on July 7, 2020. PETER CZIBORRA / POOL / AFP
Chelsea’s US midfielder Christian Pulisic (C) is chased by Crystal Palace’s Senegalese midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate (R) during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park in south London on July 7, 2020. PETER CZIBORRA / POOL / AFP

 

Chelsea moved up to third in the Premier League table after holding out to win a 3-2 thriller at Crystal Palace, while Danny Welbeck’s stunning overhead kick moved Watford four points clear of the relegation zone by beating Norwich.

Frank Lampard’s men edged closer to sealing a place in next season’s Champions League as a seventh win in eight games takes them two points ahead of Leicester, who travel to Arsenal later on Tuesday, and opened up a five-point lead on fifth-placed Manchester United.

The Blues were fortunate when opening the scoring at Selhurst Park as former Chelsea captain Gary Cahill fell to the ground clutching his hamstring to allow Willian to tee up Olivier Giroud for his fourth goal in six games.

Chelsea have already stated their intent to move up a level next season and challenge Liverpool and Manchester City for the title with the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.

Their arrival could have put Christian Pulisic’s place in the team under threat, but after an injury-disrupted start to his first season in England, the American is beginning to flourish.

Pulisic’s form has led to comparisons with Eden Hazard, the man he replaced at Stamford Bridge, and the Belgian would have been proud of Chelsea’s second as the 21-year-old skipped past Joel Ward and hammered in off the inside of the near post.

Chelsea appeared to be cruising towards victory and only a great save from Vicente Guaita turned Willian’s shot wide from Pulisic’s layoff as the visitors threatened to run riot.

However, as so often this season, Lampard’s men failed to capitalise on their dominance and were suddenly on the back foot when Wilfried Zaha thundered a shot high past Kepa Arrizabalaga from long range for Palace’s first goal in four games.

Chelsea looked to have sealed the three points again when substitutes Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham combined for the latter to restore a two-goal cushion 19 minutes from time.

Just over a minute later, though, Palace were back in the game when a brilliant move culminated in Patrick van Aanholt squaring for Christian Benteke to tap in just his second goal of the season.

Questions remain over whether the Chelsea defence will be strong enough to maintain a title challenge next season and they were left clinging on in stoppage time as Scott Dann’s header came back off the inside of the post and only a last-ditch challenge from Kurt Zouma denied Benteke a second.

At the other end of the table, Welbeck’s first Premier League goal for Watford was as valuable as it was spectacular as the Hornets came from behind to secure their first win since ending Liverpool’s long unbeaten run in February.

The 2-1 defeat pushes Norwich ever closer to the drop as the Canaries are now 10 points adrift of safety with four games remaining.

Emiliano Buendia gave Daniel Farke’s men a dream start by curling past Ben Foster, but Norwich’s defensive frailty from set-pieces was exposed when Craig Dawson was left free to head home Etienne Capoue’s free-kick to quickly level.

Like so much of his career, Welbeck’s first season at Watford has been blighted by injury, but the former Manchester United and Arsenal forward showed his class by adjusting his body to hook home Ismaila Sarr’s deflected cross.

 

AFP

Liverpool Thrash Crystal Palace 4-0 To Close In On Premier League Title

Crystal Palace's English defender Joel Ward (L) vies with Liverpool's Senegalese striker Sadio Mane during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on June 24, 2020. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP)
Crystal Palace’s English defender Joel Ward (L) vies with Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on June 24, 2020. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Liverpool moved to the brink of celebrating a first league title in 30 years with a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace on their return to Anfield behind closed doors on Wednesday.

Jurgen Klopp’s men will be champions on Thursday should Manchester City fail to win at Chelsea or by collecting a point when they face City in their next outing on July 2.

 

 

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Lampard Focused On Finishing Third Rather Than Crowning Liverpool

Chelsea's English head coach Frank Lampard (R) touch the elbow of Chelsea's Brazilian midfielder Willian as he is substituted off during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on June 21, 2020. (Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /
Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard (R) touch the elbow of Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder Willian as he is substituted off during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on June 21, 2020. (Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard will happily play a part in crowning Liverpool champions for the first time in 30 years, but only because it would mean his side have taken points from Manchester City on Thursday.

Should Liverpool beat Crystal Palace on Wednesday, City will need to win at Stamford Bridge to keep the title race alive for another week before they host Liverpool on July 2.

Chelsea are in need of the points themselves to cement their place in the top four, with Lampard keen to catch Leicester in third before the season is over.

“I have had absolutely no thought of Liverpool’s situation, it makes no odds to us at all,” said Lampard.

“We respect Liverpool and Manchester City as two fantastic teams, in the last two to three seasons they’ve been dominant, but we can only look at what this match means for us.”

Chelsea famously played a big part on the night Leicester clinched the league in the 2015/16 season, coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against Tottenham in what became dubbed “The Battle of the Bridge” after nine of the Spurs side were booked.

“I don’t think you can compare a Chelsea-Tottenham game to potentially stop Tottenham winning the league,” added Lampard on the rivalry between the London sides.

“I am aware of the situation, but I can only focus on us.

“We have a job to do and our job is to go up against one of the best teams in the world over the last few seasons and try to get a result.”

 

 

-AFP

Man Utd Make Top Four Move, Liverpool Lie In Wait

Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson (L) clears the ball during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on June 24, 2020. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /
Liverpool’s English midfielder Jordan Henderson (L) clears the ball during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on June 24, 2020. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP) 

 

Manchester United closed to within two points of the top four thanks to Anthony Martial’s hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Sheffield United on Wednesday before Liverpool hope to move to the brink of a first title in 30 years.

Victory for Jurgen Klopp’s men over Crystal Palace at Anfield will mean Manchester City have to win at Chelsea on Thursday to deny the Reds being crowned champions.

United are still far off challenging again for titles at the top of the table, but there are growing signs of momentum for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men as they extended their unbeaten run to 13 games.

Martial produced two predatory first-time finishes before half-time to put the Red Devils in command.

Sheffield United were riding high in March before football’s shutdown for three months, but the Blades have now picked up just one point and failed to score in their three games since the restart.

United could have pilled on much more pain after the break, but were content with one more goal as Martial completed his first career hat-trick with a cheeky chip from Marcus Rashford’s pass.

Fifth-place could still be good enough for a place in next season’s Champions League depending on the outcome of Manchester City’s appeal against a two-season ban from European competition.

And Wolves remain level on points with United in fifth by continuing their perfect restart with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth.

Just as in a 2-0 victory at West Ham on Saturday, Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez combined to break the deadlock as the Mexican powered home a header for his 24th goal of the season.

Defeat leaves Bournemouth still in the bottom three on goal difference and there are now three teams tied on 27 points as Aston Villa struck late to claim a 1-1 draw at Newcastle.

Dean Smith’s side look set to rue a host of missed chances before half-time when Dwight Gayle put the Magpies in front.

However, Ahmed El Mohamady’s scrappy finish from Conor Hourihane’s corner salvaged a precious point.

Any hope of Norwich hauling themselves out of trouble now looks forlorn as the Canaries fell to a second home defeat in a week.

Michael Keane scored the only goal as Everton won 1-0 at Carrow Road to move above Arsenal into 10th.

Norwich remain rock bottom, six points adrift of safety.

 

 

-AFP

Richarlison Fires Everton Into Premier League Win Against Palace

Everton’s Brazilian striker Richarlison (3rd L) celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Crystal Palace at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north-west England on February 8, 2020. Everton won the game 3-1. AFP

 

Everton moved up to seventh and within five points of the Premier League top four as their resurgence under Carlo Ancelotti continued with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Bernard, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the goals for the Toffees, who have won five and drawn two of eight league games since the Italian took charge in December.

At the other end of the table, Palace are looking over their shoulders at the relegation zone.

Roy Hodgson’s men still have a six-point lead over the bottom three but have not won in eight games and just once in the league since early December.

Bernard gave the hosts a deserved first-half lead with a thumping finish from Theo Walcott’s cross to the back post.

However, Palace were gifted a route back into the game six minutes into the second half thanks to another error from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

The England number one’s place at Euro 2020 is under debate and he let Christian Benteke’s shot slip underneath his body as the Belgian striker registered his first goal of the season.

Just as Everton were wobbling, though, a moment of magic from Richarlison swung the game back in their favour seven minutes later.

The Brazilian stormed onto Calvert-Lewin’s flick-on to carry the ball from just inside the Palace half and past Gary Cahill before placing his shot into the far corner.

The same two players were involved when Everton sealed the points two minutes from time as Richarlison’s header from a corner came off the bar and Calvert-Lewin turned home his 13th goal of the season.

AFP

Mendy Gives Up On Title Chase, Says City Can Still Thrive

Manchester City’s French defender Benjamin Mendy (L) reacts at the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on January 18, 2020. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Pep Guardiola’s side are trailing well behind Liverpool after Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace dealt another blow to their faint hopes of catching the runaway leaders.

Hampered by injuries, City have been unable to match the consistency of their past two title-winning seasons.

Guardiola accepted last month his side could no longer catch Liverpool, but City defender Mendy knows there are still three other trophies to play for, including the Champions League, which his team have never won.

City hold a 3-1 League Cup semi-final first leg lead against Manchester United, host Fulham in the FA Cup fourth round next weekend and are due to play Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16.

“When you start the league you try to win, to do your best and you have to say the truth, which is that Liverpool have done very, very well and are a good, strong team – everybody can see that,” Mendy said.

“We deal well with it. When another team is doing well you can’t be upset or angry. This is the truth, no one can complain. So in our dressing room, we try to focus on us.

“All the people say Man City are finished. They can say what they want, we will just keep focusing on us, play our football, win the games, to fight until the league is finished.

“We have seen other teams who have won the title have not reached the Champions League the season after – they were in the Europa League.

“We won our first title, and then won again, and are now we are still second or third. We don’t have the answer for what has happened but every player tries to give everything for the team.”

AFP

Palace Hold Arsenal As Aubameyang Sees Red

Arsenal’s French striker Alexandre Lacazette (L) tackles Crystal Palace’s English defender Martin Kelly during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park in south London on January 11, 2020. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring at Crystal Palace on Saturday but was later sent off as the hosts fought back to draw 1-1 at Selhurst Park.

New Gunners boss Mikel Arteta was on course for a third straight win when his skipper made the breakthrough in the first half, but a deflected effort by Jordan Ayew cancelled it out early in the second period.

When Aubameyang received a red card with 23 minutes left, the experienced Roy Hodgson would have fancied his chances of gaining three points against the youngest manager in the league and but had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Arsenal’s difficulties this season were highlighted by the fact this was the first time Palace were facing the Gunners after Christmas in a top-flight match with the Eagles higher in the table.

Hodgson was boosted by the return of Wilfried Zaha after he missed the defeat to Derby with a knock but new loan signing Cenk Tosun was only named on the bench.

Captain Aubameyang was recalled by Arteta after sitting out the FA Cup win over Leeds and opened the scoring at Selhurst Park in the 12th minute.

Mesut Ozil’s licence to roam had already caused the hosts problems and he moved inside to combine with Alexandre Lacazette, who played in his fellow forward to curl into the bottom corner for his 16th goal of the season.

It was a breathtaking Arsenal move, which started with a brave through ball between the lines by David Luiz, and Palace struggled to gain possession during the opening 30 minutes.

Zaha cut a frustrated figure and this was highlighted when he shoved Nicolas Pepe into Lucas Torreira, with the visiting pair needing treatment.

Palace settle

The Eagles slowly settled into the London derby and Cheikhou Kouyate had their first effort of note shortly before half-time, which Bernd Leno unconvincingly parried.

Arteta introduced Matteo Guendouzi at half-time, with Torreira not returning but Palace continued to win free kicks in dangerous positions after the break.

Eventually they made one count, when Jairo Riedewald found Max Meyer in space down the right. His cross was poor, but Kouyate was first to it and set up Ayew, who saw his strike take a big deflection off Luiz and loop over Leno in the 54th minute.

Arsenal’s problems deepened when Aubameyang caught Meyer high on the ankle with a poor challenge by the touchline.

Referee Paul Tierney showed a yellow card but VAR had a look and after a two-and-a-half minute delay, the caution was upgraded to a sending off.

Aubameyang was distraught as he left the pitch in the 67th minute and Meyer had to follow him down the tunnel after failing to recover from the tackle.

That allowed Hodgson to introduce Tosun for his debut, while Arteta withdrew Ozil for Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli.

James Tomkins almost produced a winner 12 minutes from time, but his header was cleared off the line by Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Arsenal then almost stole it.

Vicente Guaita came to the rescue though, when he superbly tipped Pepe’s shot on to the post and saved Lacazette’s follow-up in the 83rd minute as it finished all square.

‘I Don’t Take It For Granted’, Klopp Praises Liverpool Win At Palace

A file photo of Liverpool’s German manager, Jurgen Klopp. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

 

Jurgen Klopp praised his side’s unerring ability to dig out results when not at their best after Liverpool again scored late to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 on Saturday and maintain their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

The leaders were indebted to an 85th-minute Roberto Firmino goal at Selhurst Park after Wilfried Zaha had cancelled out Sadio Mane’s second-half opener.

The victory made it 30 league games unbeaten for Klopp’s side and was further compelling evidence that they are well-equipped to end an agonising 30-year wait for the English league title.

“Getting a result at Crystal Palace, I don’t take it for granted,” said Klopp, whose side are eight points clear of Leicester after 13 games.

“We are not out there to show we invented football. We have a job to do to get results. We did that again.

“I have no problem that we were not brilliant today. You just have to make sure you are ready to fight for the result and we were that from the first minute.

“Could we have played better? Yes. But we had players on the pitch that on Thursday morning who were still on the plane back from Abu Dhabi or wherever (during the international break). That’s not too cool.”

Liverpool were missing Mohamed Salah, who was on the bench as he continues to struggle with an ankle injury and lacked their usual fluency going forward in a first half dominated by Palace.

The half-chances were falling to the home side, notably when Jordan Ayew skewed his shot wide before a Joel Ward free-kick was headed onto the top of the crossbar by Gary Cahill.

It appeared that a set-piece had given Palace the lead two minutes before half-time.

A Luka Milivojevic free-kick clipped the head of Georginio Wijnaldum and dropped into the path of James Tomkins to nod home at the far post.

But Klopp’s men had VAR to thank for ruling the goal out after a review ruled that Jordan Ayew had fouled Dejan Lovren in the area.

If Liverpool had been ponderous in the first half, they sprinted into the lead within four minutes of the restart.

– Rasping shots –

First, Jordan Henderson released Mane with a thrusting through ball only for the striker to drag his shot wide.

Within seconds, he atoned for that miss when Firmino flicked Andy Robertson’s cross into his path.

Mane swivelled and sent in a shot that had just enough force to skim the hand of Palace keeper Vicente Guaita and spin-off one post onto the other and cross the line.

The home side responded with rasping shots from first Andros Townsend and then Milivojevic.

At the other end, Firmino almost made it 2-0 midway through the second half, toe-poking a shot which Guaita palmed away for a corner.

That seemed a costly miss as Palace fought their way back into the contest. Alisson Becker was required to tip away a low Jeffrey Schlupp drive before substitute Christian Benteke went close with a spectacular bicycle kick.

The former Liverpool player then helped set up the equaliser, bursting into the area and finding Townsend, who slipped the ball to Zaha. A quick shimmy later and Zaha struck a low shot beyond Alisson.

However, as so often this season, Liverpool found an immediate answer. Virgil van Dijk’s scuffed effort sowed panic in the Palace ranks following a corner and Firmino popped up to steer the loose ball into an empty net.

The fortune that follows champions surfaced again in injury-time when Zaha, superbly found by an astute clipped Townsend pass, slashed at the ball and sent his shot high over the Liverpool bar.

Liverpool Leave It Late Again To Beat Palace

Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (L) watches his shot to make the score 2-1 during the English Premier League football match against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in south London on November 23, 2019. Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

 

Liverpool continue to look like Premier League champions in waiting as they combined grit and good fortune to secure a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The victory, secured by Roberto Firmino’s 85th-minute winner, made it 30 league games unbeaten for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

It also reinforced their imposing ability to turn draws into victories, a habit which looks set to carry them to a first Premier League title in 30 years.

Another vital win maintains the European champions’ eight-point lead over Leicester at the top of the table and opens up a 12-point gap on defending champions Manchester City prior to their clash with Chelsea later on Saturday.

Liverpool were shorn of Mohamed Salah, who started on the bench as he continues to struggle with an ankle injury and lacked their usual fluency going forward in a first half dominated by Palace.

The half-chances were falling to the home side, notably when Jordan Ayew skewed his shot wide before a Joel Ward free-kick was headed onto the top of the crossbar by Gary Cahill.

It appeared that a set-piece had given Palace the lead two minutes before half-time.

A Luka Milivojevic free-kick clipped the head of Georginio Wijnaldum and dropped into the path of James Tomkins to nod home at the far post.

But not for the first time this season, Klopp’s men had VAR to thank for ruling out the goal.

Ayew’s hand was on the back of Lovren as the pair moved towards the ball, yet VAR official Chris Kavanagh was clearly fooled by the Croatian defender’s theatrical fall to what could hardly be considered a push at normal speed.

If Liverpool had been somewhat ponderous in the first half, they sprinted into the lead within four minutes of the restart.

– Rasping shots –

First, Jordan Henderson released Mane with a thrusting through ball only for the striker to drag his shot wide.

Within seconds, he atoned for that miss when Firmino flicked Andy Robertson’s cross into his path.

Mane swivelled and sent in a shot that possessed just enough force to skim the hand of Palace keeper Vicente Guaita and spin-off one post onto the other and cross the line

The home side responded with rasping shots from first Andros Townsend and then Milivojevic.

At the other end, Firmino almost made it 2-0 after 67 minutes, toe-poking a shot which Guaita palmed away for a corner.

That seemed a costly miss as Palace fought their way back into the contest. Alisson was required to tip away a low Jeffrey Schlupp drive before substitute Christian Benteke went close with a spectacular bicycle kick.

The former Liverpool player then helped set up the equaliser, bursting into the area and finding Townsend who slipped the ball to Zaha. A quick shimmy later and Zaha struck a low shot beyond Alisson.

However, as so often this season, Liverpool found an immediate answer. Virgil van Dijk’s scuffed effort met with Palace panic following a corner and Firmino popped up to steer the loose ball into an empty net.

The fortune that follows champions surfaced again in injury-time when Zaha, superbly found by an astute clipped Townsend pass, slashed at the ball and sent his shot high over the Liverpool bar.

AFP

Sixth Win On The Spin Lifts Chelsea To Second In Premier League

Chelsea’s US midfielder Christian Pulisic (C) celebrates with teammates after he scores his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge in London on November 9, 2019. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Chelsea secured a sixth straight Premier League win to move up to second as the in-form Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic struck to beat Crystal Palace 2-0.

Abraham ended Palace’s dogged defensive resistance with a simple finish from Willian’s deft through ball seven minutes into the second half before Pulisic headed home a loose ball 11 minutes from time to seal all three points.

Chelsea edge a point clear of Manchester City and to within five of leaders Liverpool, who host City in a highly-anticipated clash on Sunday.

A 4-4 draw with Ajax on Tuesday took the tally of goals Chelsea’s prior 18 games this season to 70 at an average of nearly four per game.

However, the Blues free-flowing football under Frank Lampard was met with a brick wall of a Palace defence for the first 45 minutes.

Pulisic had scored four goals in his last two Premier League games as the American begins to deliver on his £58 million ($74 million) price tag and only a fine save from Vicente Guaita denied the USA captain another strike early on.

Thereafter, Chelsea were largely restricted to efforts from free-kicks on the edge of the box before the break as Willian curled inches wide.

Gary Cahill was making his return to Stamford Bridge after his seven years as a Chelsea player came to an end in the summer.

And Cahill reminded his former employers of why he won eight trophies for the club with a brilliant block to repel Willian’s goalbound effort in first half stoppage time.

The Palace resistence was finally broken by one moment of genius from Willian as Chelsea’s captain for the day flicked the ball perfectly into Abraham’s path to slot home his 11th goal of the season.

Pulisic tested Guaita again with a rising drive shortly after that the Spaniard did brilliantly to tip over.

Palace’s problem this season has been scoring goals, but they missed a huge chance to snatch a point 20 minutes from time when James Tomkins headed wide from Luka Milivojevic’s free-kick.

Instead at the other end, Pulisic finally got the goal his performance deserved by following up after Michy Batshuayi’s shot had been blocked to nod past a helpless Guaita.