Full-time: Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea

Diego Costa
Dan Mullan/Getty Images
  • Diego Costa heads home his 50th Chelsea goal and his 13th of the season shortly before half-time as the visitors equal a club record set back in 2009 with their 11th successive top-flight victory
  • Antonio Conte's Premier League leaders move nine points clear of title rivals Arsenal and Liverpool
  • Unstoppable Chelsea have gone on to win the title on each of the past four occasions that they have been top of the table at Christmas
  • Costa and N'Golo Kante to miss the Boxing Day clash with Bournemouth after both collect their fifth yellow cards of the season at Selhurst Park
  • Struggling Crystal Palace have now won just one of their last 11 league matches to pile more pressure on under-fire manager Alan Pardew
  • The Eagles, who have kept only one clean sheet in 22 games, remain 16th and just three points clear of the relegation zone
  • Palace have not triumphed in any of their last nine London derbies ahead of back-to-back meetings with Watford and Arsenal

That is all for this particular blog, but be sure to join IBTimes UK again from 16.00 GMT as we provide live coverage of Manchester United's teatime trip to West Brom.

Goodbye for now.


It will be an unhappy Christmas for Palace, who may stay out of the relegation zone on goal difference only if other results go against them elsewhere.

The 2016 FA Cup semi-finalists have won just one of their last 11 league matches and you wonder how long Pardew has left to try and plug the holes on this sinking ship.

The Eagles finish the calendar year with two more London derbies against Watford and Arsenal.


Another hugely satisfactory afternoon for Chelsea, who combine Costa's clinical touch with another resilient rearguard performance to seal a club-record equalling 11th consecutive top-flight victory.

Conte's in-form side now sit nine points clear of main title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal, who face tough matches against Everton and Manchester City respectively this weekend.

Next up for the Blues is the Boxing Day visit of Bournemouth, for which Costa and Kante will be suspended.

Antonio Conte
Clive Rose/Getty Images



Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea


Conte is still barking orders and gesticulating wildly on the touchline as we enter the final 60 seconds of added time.

You can never accuse the flamboyant Italian of lacking passion for the game, that's for sure.


Fabregas chops down Dann and is booked for his troubles. Townsend tries to test Courtois with a free-kick from 25 yards out but a truly atrocious effort ends up in the stands.


Five minutes of added time will be played at the end of this second half.

Can Palace conjure up any late magic?


Affectionate chants of "Diego" ring out from the away end as Chelsea's goal-scorer walks off slowly. £33m summer signing Michy Batshuayi is on for the final few minutes.


Fabregas looks to put the game to bed but his shot is saved by Hennessey. It would not have counted anyway after Costa is penalised for handball.

With time running out, Palace try to apply some late pressure but an initial free-kick is cleared and a flick-on by Dann falls safe before rolling out of play.

A reminder that Chelsea have conceded just two goals during their 10-match winning steak.


Pardew makes his third and final change of the afternoon. Left-back Zeki Fryers comes on for Kelly.


After Palace fail to launch a meaningful attack down the left, Fabregas sparks a counter with a fine pass to Hazard.

The Belgian looks to wreak havoc after a faint backheel from Costa but is scythed down by Delaney, who deservedly earns a yellow card.

Alonso proceeds to bend a brilliant left-footed free-kick over the wall and against the crossbar with Hennessey beaten. So unlucky.


Hennessey confidently claims a Chelsea corner and Delaney executes an impeccable sliding block to keep Costa at bay.

Damien Delaney
Clive Rose/Getty Images


Moses is given a warm reception by both sets of supporters as he makes way for Branislav Ivanovic.

An attacking change from Palace sees Cabaye replaced by another striker in Fraizer Campbell.


Townsend does now enter the fray in place of Puncheon. Palace have just under 15 minutes left to find an equaliser.


Hennessey to the rescue for Palace as he keeps the score at 1-0 with two strong saves to deny Kante and Alonso.

Conte was critical of Chelsea's inability to kill off Sunderland in midweek and Chelsea are keen to ensure that they are not left relying on any late heroics from Courtois again today.


Fine centre-forward play from Benteke, who shows great strength to hold off Cahill before his volley on the turn is driven into the turf and held by Courtois.


Andros Townsend was stripped and ready to replace Puncheon, but the latter signals to the bench that he is OK to continue.

Chelsea fashion another chance thanks to Hazard's cutback. However, Fabregas shoots tamely at Hennessey.


Moses exchanges passes with Fabregas and sends in a cross towards Costa that is headed away by Dann as far as Alonso, who shows great technique to volley into the side netting.

Puncheon looks to have hurt himself here and will require treatment.


Almost an immediate impact from Fabregas. The substitute somehow bustles his way past Delaney and Ledley, but his fizzed cross from the byline is too powerful for Alonso to turn home.


Willian tees up Moses, whose shot is blocked by a determined Dann.

Fabregas is then summoned by Conte to replace the Brazilian.


Azpilicueta again rises to meet Cabaye's free-kick. Chelsea deal with another corner and Costa eventually gets the ball clear.


Luiz does well to fend off McArthur before Moses is whistled for a rash sliding challenge on Puncheon.

Kante, who probably should have been booked in the first half, is finally cautioned for a string of fouls.

He too will miss that Boxing Day clash against Eddie Howe's Bournemouth.

Victor Moses
Dan Mullan/Getty Images


Chelsea are soaking up a lot of pressure just at the moment, but holding firm. Palace need to make this period of dominance count.


Azpilicueta, tracking the front-post run from Dann, heads behind an in-swinging Cabaye free-kick awarded for Kante's foul on Puncheon.

Cahill and Alonso combine to clear the corner.