Football: Crystal Palace in wonderland after shock win over champions Chelsea

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha wheels away in celebration, after scoring just before the break to put his team 2-1 up against league champions Chelsea. His goal proved to be the winner, earning his side three hard-fought points.
Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha wheels away in celebration, after scoring just before the break to put his team 2-1 up against league champions Chelsea. His goal proved to be the winner, earning his side three hard-fought points.PHOTO: REUTERS

Despite run of seven losses, underdogs stun champions; Blues trail City by nine points

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Crystal Palace 2

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LONDON • Crystal Palace finally scored not only their first, but also their first two Premier League goals of the season as they stunned Chelsea 2-1 at home yesterday.

Palace had failed to score a single goal as they lost their first seven league games, but Roy Hodgson's side gave their fans something to celebrate in the 11th minute at Selhurst Park.

Palace midfielder Yohan Cabaye met Andros Townsend's cross and, when David Luiz made a block, the ball deflected off Cabaye and then Cesar Azpilicueta on its way into the net for an own goal.

It was the first time Palace had scored in the league since they hit four against Hull in May.

Tiemoue Bakayoko then equalised for Chelsea just seven minutes later, but Palace had Wilfried Zaha - who was returning from injury - to thank when he struck the winning goal on the stroke of half-time.

"I'm so tired but it was all worth it for the win," Zaha said after the match, as reported by the BBC.

"We had to win. You never know in football - we had a game plan, worked hard and just took our chances.

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    Matches it took Palace to register their first points and goals of the season.

"The first goal was massive for our confidence - it was a massive boost for the team. My goal was at the right time too, because Chelsea were coming back. I'm buzzing to have scored it.

"Me and Andros Townsend aren't strikers so we run all over the gaff, but the boss told us that if one had the ball the other needs to get himself into the box.

"It's a dream, managing to beat Chelsea at home. Definitely this is the start of a fightback - now we've got more confidence we can start to climb up the table."

At the Eithad Stadium, unbeaten Manchester City opened up a two-point lead at the top of the Premier League table with another demonstration of bewildering brilliance in their 7-2 thrashing of Stoke City.

 

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    Liverpool 0 Man United 0

    Crystal Palace 2 Chelsea 1

    Burnley 1 West Ham 1

    Tottenham 1 Bournemouth 0

    Man City 7 Stoke 2

    Swansea 2 Huddersfield 0

    Watford v Arsenal

    Late kick-off

    TODAY

    Brighton v Everton
    Ch102 & Ch227, 8.30pm

    Southampton v Newcastle
    Ch102 & Ch227, 11pm

Pep Guardiola's title favourites looked irresistible as goals from Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and David Silva in the opening half-hour put the seal on their dazzling football and made a sixth straight league win a seeming formality.

Yet against all odds, Mame Biram Diouf pulled one back just before the break and another after half-time when his header deflected off Kyle Walker's thigh into the net.

City then went into overdrive, with Jesus' second - his seventh goal this season - Fernandinho, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva getting in on the act to ensure they scored at least five goals at the Etihad for the third successive league match.

They also became the first English top-flight team to score 29 goals in their first eight league games of the season since Everton achieved the feat in 1894-95.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 15, 2017, with the headline 'Crystal palace in wonderland'. Print Edition | Subscribe