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Result: Chelsea ease past Crystal Palace to extend unbeaten start

Alvaro Morata scores twice as Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 3-1 to extend their unbeaten start and move second in the Premier League table.

Maurizio Sarri has equalled the record for the longest managerial unbeaten streak at the start of a Premier League career courtesy of Chelsea's 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.

A brace from Alvaro Morata and third from Pedro were enough for the Blues to extend their run to 11 games without defeat from the start of the season, leapfrogging Liverpool into second place in the process.

Andros Townsend restored parity for Palace at one stage in the second half, but two goals in the space of five minutes saw the hosts take the game beyond their London rivals to remain just two points adrift of leaders Manchester City.

Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard celebrate during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Crystal Palace on November 4, 2018© Reuters

The match began in end-to-end fashion with Palace looking to make an early impact, but it was Chelsea who created the clearest chance of the opening exchanges when Pedro failed to get good enough contact on Willian's low cross.

The hosts began to gain a degree of control over the game as the first half wore on, although Palace posed a regular threat on the counter-attack and had one opportunity to break the deadlock when Max Meyer fired off target from the edge of the box after being picked out by Zaha.

It was a rare moment of genuine attacking threat from Palace in the first half, but Chelsea were also struggling to break down their opponents at the other end despite enjoying the lion's share of possession.

The opening goal did finally arrive shortly after the half-hour mark when Morata collected Pedro's pass with his back to goal before instinctively shooting on the turn to leave Wayne Hennessey no chance from close range.

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring the opening during his side's Premier League clash with Crystal Palace on November 4, 2018© Reuters

Chelsea had the ball in the back of the net again just three minutes later when Pedro's mis-hit shot squirmed through to Willian, but his own close-range finish was ruled out by the tightest of offside calls.

Palace were slightly fortunate to only go into the break with a one-goal deficit, then, and Chelsea's failure to make the most of their dominance came back to haunt them eight minutes into the second half.

James McArthur stabbed a clever through-ball forward for Townsend, who raced clear of David Luiz before drilling a powerful low finish into the bottom corner - his first goal in 20 Premier League games.

Andros Townsend celebrates his equaliser during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Crystal Palace on November 4, 2018© Reuters

Suddenly Palace began to look a lot more dangerous as they went in search of the lead, although Chelsea should have regained their advantage shortly after the hour mark when Luiz found himself unmarked from Willian's free kick, only to see his header well saved by Hennessey.

The resulting corner also saw Luiz get his head to the ball, but this time he failed to hit the target and Sarri soon turned to Eden Hazard off the bench, with the Belgian returning after three games out with a back injury.

It took just a minute for Hazard to make his mark as he won and then delivered a free kick which went all the way through to Morata, who took a touch before rifling a clinical finish into the bottom corner to double his tally for the afternoon.

Alvaro Morata gets his second during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Crystal Palace on November 4, 2018© Reuters

Roy Hodgson would have been unhappy with his side's defending for that goal, and they were sliced open again just five minutes later as Chelsea took the game beyond Palace with a third.

Marcos Alonso's low cross from the left was met by his compatriot Pedro, who applied a confident first-time finish past a helpless Hennessey as Chelsea finally got their two-goal cushion.

Pedro mounts Marcos Alonso after scoring during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Crystal Palace on November 4, 2018© Reuters

Palace did have half a chance to haul themselves back into the match when a smart passing move saw Patrick van Aanholt break into the box, but his effort on his weaker right foot was wayward.

Indeed, it was Chelsea who should have added to the scoring when Hazard released Morata clean through on goal from a quick counter-attack in the final minute of stoppage time, only for Hennessey to read the Spaniard's intentions and deny him a hat-trick by plucking his attempted lob out of the air.

It was a golden chance for Morata to silence his critics by taking home the matchball, but it did not have an impact on the result as Chelsea ran out comfortable winners to ensure that three teams remain unbeaten after 11 games of a Premier League season for the first time.

The result also means that Sarri is yet to taste defeat after 11 games in the competition, equalling the record set by Nottingham Forest's Frank Clark in 1994.

Palace, by contrast, are now winless in their last six matches to sit in 14th place, just three points clear of the relegation zone with games against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United in their next two.

CHELSEA (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho (Fabregas 80'), Barkley (Kovacic 64'); Pedro, Morata, Willian (Hazard 64')

CRYSTAL PALACE (4-4-2): Hennessey; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt; McArthur (Schlupp 80'), Milivojevic, Kouyate, Meyer (Ayew 71'); Townsend, Zaha

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Chelsea's Eden Hazard arrives for their game with Huddersfield Town on August 11, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City1210203653132
2Liverpool129302351830
3Chelsea128402781928
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs1290320101027
5Arsenal1273226151124
6Bournemouth126242116520
7Watford126241714320
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd126242021-120
9Everton125431915419
10Leicester CityLeicester125251716117
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves124441213-116
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton124261318-514
13West Ham UnitedWest Ham123361418-412
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle12237915-69
15Burnley122371225-139
16Crystal Palace12228817-98
17Southampton12156821-138
18Cardiff CityCardiff122281125-148
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield12147622-167
20Fulham121291131-205

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