MX23RW : Tuesday, September 18 21:44:23

Match Analysis: Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea

Sports Mole casts a closer eye over Chelsea's 2-1 victory away at Crystal Palace in which both sides were reduced to 10 men.

Chelsea recorded a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace this afternoon to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table to five points.

Oscar broke the deadlock early on, before Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta and Palace defender Damien Delaney were red carded in separate incidents before the break.

Cesc Fabregas then went on to double the away side's advantage and, while Fraizer Campbell reduced the arrears in the 90th minute, Chelsea held out to claim all three points.

Here, Sports Mole has looked back over the contest to determine if the away side were worthy victors.

Match statistics

Palace
Shots: 7
On target: 4
Possession: 28%
Corners: 3
Fouls: 13

Chelsea
Shots: 14
On target: 5
Possession: 72%
Corners: 2
Fouls: 7

Was the result fair?

When both sides had a full complement of players, it was a fairly even contest. However, as soon as the red cards were produced, Chelsea were much the better of the two teams. As the statistics above highlight, they were dominant in possession and could have added a further goal or two. Palace worked hard and should be credited for not allowing their heads to drop, but there only one team that deserved to win.

Palace's performance

For 45 minutes, Neil Warnock had every reason to be pleased with his players. They trailed to a wonder goal, but, after that, Campbell caused some problems to Gary Cahill in particular and there was plenty of reason for optimism. The red card to Delaney stopped the home side in their tracks, though.

They could not get hold of the ball for most of the second half, which meant that their midfielders were doing a lot of chasing and, understandably, tiredness set in. The introduction of Wilfried Zaha from the bench did inject some pace at least and he set up Campbell's goal late on, but it was a case of too little, too late.

Chelsea's performance

Jose Mourinho insisted that there would be no repeat of the result and performance that his side served up at Selhurst Park last season and his players did not let him down. While they were by no means at their best during the first half, they controlled the possession and went in front through a stunning effort from Oscar.

There is no better side in the Premier League at defending a lead than Chelsea. When it went to 10 vs. 10, Mourinho's men stroked the ball around the pitch with ease. It seemed at times that they were toying with the Palace players. They may have only scored twice, but Chelsea always gave the impression that if they truly needed to score another goal, they could have done. The goal that they conceded will have irked Mourinho, but all in all, it was a very positive away display from the Blues.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Cesc Fabregas: The Spaniard has been involved in most of Chelsea's impressive positive performances this season and today was no different. He constantly demanded the ball and, when he did have possession, rarely was he wasteful. The goal - his first for Chelsea in the Premier League - was one to remember as he exchanged passes with Eden Hazard and then Oscar, before showing great composure to beat Julian Speroni.

Biggest gaffe

Trailing 1-0, Palace were given a huge boost when Azpilicueta was red carded in the 40th minute. However, within three minutes, Delaney evened up the numbers when he foolishly committed his second bookable offence. He had already been rightly cautioned for a poor sliding challenge on Loic Remy when he inexplicably grabbed hold of the Chelsea striker's shirt, which left the referee with little option but to send him for an early bath. The confidence Palace would have gained from the numerical advantage evaporated instantly.

Referee performance

Craig Pawson had never previously brandished a red card in the Premier League, yet today, he dished out two. To be fair to the official, both were the correct decision. Following those dismissals, tempers threatened to boil over on occasions, but he did well to put a lid on that. The 35-year-old can be pleased with his work.

What next?

Palace: Warnock's men are on the road next Saturday afternoon when they travel to the Black Country to take on West Bromwich Albion.

Chelsea: The Blues will turn their attention to Champions League matters with the visit of NK Maribor to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening. Then, next Sunday, they make the trip to Manchester United.

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Chelsea's Brazilian midfielder Oscar celebrates scoring the opening goal during tthe English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park in south London on October 18, 2014
Read Next:
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea55001441015
2Liverpool5500112915
3Manchester CityMan City54101431113
4Watford5401105512
5Bournemouth5311107310
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs530210649
7Arsenal530210919
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd53028809
9Wolverhampton WanderersWolves52215508
10Everton513189-16
11Leicester CityLeicester520389-16
12Crystal Palace520346-26
13Southampton51226605
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton512279-25
15Fulham5113712-54
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham5104511-63
17Cardiff CityCardiff502339-62
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield5023211-92
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle501448-41
20Burnley5014310-71

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