Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace – what we learned
Frank Monkhouse | 4 April 2017
Three lessons punters can take from the upset
Few, if any, saw it coming, but Crystal Palace stretched their winning run in the Premier League to four matches with a 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Written off by experts across the board before a ball had been kicked, The Eagles became only the fourth team to beat The Blues this season, and first for almost three months.
Fans may have feared the worst when Fabregas knocked the locals ahead inside five-minutes, but a stunning quick-fire double from Zaha and Benteke turned the match on its head. The goals were outstanding, but they had nothing on the defensive qualities shown by the team to protect that lead.
So, what can punters take from the result going forward? Was it a flash knock-down, a freak result against a side who had almost three quarters of the overall possession and 24 shots at goal? A team who should’ve won by three or four? Or was it coming for a while, and a sign that Chelsea are not the champions in-waiting we had them marked down as? One thing’s for sure, no side will look to take easy points off Palace between now and the final count.
Let’s take a look through what we picked out…..
Chelsea getting lazy
The Blues believed their own hype and were sitting around waiting to be presented with a league winner’s medal. Nothing has been won yet, and that result will serve as a reminder to everyone at the bridge that they can’t just turn up and win matches. It may sound crazy, but the defeat will do them the world of good in the grand scheme of things. It’ll whip them into shape.
Conte’s side can be trusted to refocus and get back on the winning trail. If they’re smart they’ll heed the warning. The manager spoke to the press after the weekend defeat, saying the players must up their game, which came as a well-worded challenge. They are currently 27/20 with Coral to beat Man City on Wednesday.
Costa won’t be missed
Much was made in January about Diego Costa’s desire to leave Stamford Bridge, with the cash-rich Chinese Premier League his preferred destination. Chelsea fans were distraught at the thought of losing their attacker, and the board bent over backwards to try to keep him, but maybe he’s not the loss we thought. Costa missed a couple of great goal scoring opportunities on Saturday to get his side back into the game.
He has scored only three league goals in 2017, and they came against Hull, Swansea and West Ham, amongst the division’s weaker sides. If you’re playing the scorers in the City game, it’s worth knowing that Pedro has been, by far, the most prolific in front of goal, and is 2/1 to get another anytime vs The Citizens.
Sam still not taken seriously
The victors conceded an goal early in the match, to Fabregas, but they stood up to the might of Chelsea thereafter, and that would’ve come as no surprise to followers of the London club. Palace have won each of their last four, and that remains the only goal they have allowed. Big Sam is making his well-organised bunch hard to beat. In Mamadou Sakho they have a real leader in defence.
Next up for Crystal Palace in midweek is Southampton away on Wednesday, and that match just got a whole lot more interesting. We have the away win chalked up as a 7/2 shot. Traders are still reluctant to take Sam’s side seriously, it would appear, but if you follow the trends there’s a massive 13/2 on them to win to nil again. Let’s remember The Saints failed to score against Bournemouth at the weekend, and have a few big-name players out injured.