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Match Reports

Report: Chelsea 1-0 Crystal Palace

3 May 2015

Palace came within a whisker of delaying Chelsea being named Premier League champions for 2014/15 but Eden Hazard’s rebounded penalty late in the first half was enough to see the Blues over the line.

The Eagles gave a fantastic account of themselves against the champions-elect but couldn’t quite find a way past the Chelsea defence despite plenty of late pressure, and indeed they were unlucky not to come away from west London with a share of the spoils.

After absorbing the early extra vocal support from the Stamford Bridge home fans eager to see their side over the line, Palace quickly silenced them as they hit their stride early on, and after forcing a few early corners the visitors comfortably saw off Chelsea’ first threat when Juan Cuadrado saw an ambitious shot whistle well over from 30 yards after 16 minutes.

Seven minutes later and Palace got a let off when they attempted to play offside from a Cesc Fabregas free-kick but the flag stayed down and Julian Speroni was forced to save from Nemanja Matic with his feet, and the Argentinean managed to scramble the ball away when a fierce Didier Drogba free-kick came straight at him soon after.

The Eagles went close to taking the lead just before the half-hour mark when Wilfried Zaha picked out Jason Puncheon inside the area and the winger took a touch to steady himself before pulling the trigger and only a desperate diving lunge by John Terry prevented the ball from nestling into the net.

But two minutes before half-time the hosts were awarded a controversial penalty. Eden Hazard collected the ball just outside the area and jinked inbetween Adrian Mariappa and James McArthur but tumbled under minimal contact and Kevin Friend awarded the spot-kick. 

The PFA Player of the Year stepped up to take the kick which was saved by the legs of Speroni, but rebounded out to the Belgian who headed home the rebound to give his side the advantage at the break.

The second half started with the Blues in the ascendancy but once again the Palace backline held firm and restricted them to pot shots from distance from unlikely sources Branislav Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel.

The full-back had the chance to seal the title on 79 minutes when a free-kick was cleared and pumped back into the box, finding the Serbian in space in the box but he ballooned the ball over the top and a minute later Drogba shanked the ball wide with a scuffed first-time effort.

But Palace went straight up the other end and James McArthur found Yannick Bolasie who whipped a ball into the box which was missed by Yaya Sanogo but picked up by Zaha at the back post but he saw his shot smothered by Thibaut Courtois, and then Willian missed the target by fractions as the game swung end to end.

But despite Palace being practically camped in the opposition’s half they couldn’t find a breakthrough and Chelsea clinched the title.

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilecueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Matic, Fabregas, Cuadrado (Mikel 46), Willian (Zouma 86), Drogba, Hazard (Luis 90). Subs not used: Cech, Ake, Loftus-Cheek, Remy.

Palace: Speroni, Mariappa (Kelly 60), Dann, Delaney, Ward, Ledley, McArthur, Puncheon (Sanogo 70), Mutch (Murray 60), Zaha, Bolasie. Subs not used: Hennessey, Hangeland, Jedinak, Lee.

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