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  • By Paul Lagan

Eagles down poor Chelsea 2-1 at Selhurst Park

Chelsea were terrible, make no mistake about it - losing to Crystal Palace this afternoon 2-1 at Selhurst Park was probably the most damaging defeat in recent history for the Blues.

The Eagles had lost all seven league games this season and had yet to score either, Chelsea made them look like the champions.

An own goal from Cesar Azpilicueta and a lovely run and shot by Wilfred Zaha did for the reigning Premier League champions. Tiemoue Bakayo’s header in-between was the singular positive moment for the Blues.

On Wednesday they face Roma, at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League - perhaps the boys from west London had that game on their minds - they certainly were not in south-east London.

The pace of Zara and Android Townsend had the Chelsea rearguard in tatters on numerous occasions.

This is now the third league defeat of the season for the Blues and with a nine-point deficit behind Manchester City, retaining their league title looks like a pipe dream.

It started badly for the Blues, Zaha cut the Chelsea defence apart on three minutes and should have scored from close range. It was only the quick-thinking of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and his outstretched leg that stopped the home side from notching up their first goal of the season - in eight attempts.

A curler, from just outside the penalty area that went over Courtois’s crossbar, on six minutes from Andros Townsend relieved the pressure on the visitors’ defence.

Pressure finally told on 11 minutes when Townsend on the right, cut his byline cross back to Yohan Cabaye. His scuffed goal-bound effort seemed to take a touch off Cesar Azpilicueta, and wrong-foot Courtois, and the ball tumbled into the back of the net.

The lead lasted precisely seven minutes - a regulation corner by Cesc Fabregas was clinically headed in by an unmarked Tiemoue Bakayoko past a hapless Julian Speroni.

Ex-Eagle Victor Moses’s game ended eight minutes before the break with what looks like a hamstring injury - David Zappacosta replaced the wide man.

Fabregas went close with a fierce right-footed free-kick from the edge of the palace penalty area, but the ball inched over Speroni’s crossbar.

Against the run of play and right on the half-time whistle, Zaha danced through the Chelsea defence once again and beautifully tucked the ball past Courtois, to restore the home side’s lead.

There were no changes at half-time by either side, but palace started the second as they did the first, within high intensity - pushing the league champions back.

Fabregas pinged the crossbar three minutes in, with Speroni beaten.

Head coach Antonio Conte had saw enough and replaced Batshuayi with Pedro, much to the annoyance of the misfiring striker who threw the tape holding up his socks down onto the pitch in apparent disgust at the decision.

Eden Hazard took’s the Belgium striker’s place up front.

Marco Alsono saws bhis header from a Willian corner just go over Speroni’s crossbar s the Blues went in search of an equaliser.

Charley Musonda then replaced Willian.

Pedro and Zappacosta tried long-range efforts, but both were firmly dealt with by Speroni.

Musonda had a great chance to score when he chested down from a Fabregas pass but hurried his volley from 10 yards and skied his effort. Speroni was soon in action again, thwarting another Alonso header from a Fabregas corner.

Chelsea: Courtois, Alonso, Fabregas, Hazard,. Bakayoko, Moses, Willian, Batshuayi, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Luiz.

Subs: Caballero, Rudiger, Pedro, Musonda, Zappacosta, Christensen, Kyle Scott

Palace: Speroni, Ward, Van Aanholt, Milivojevic, Dann, Cabaye, Townsend, Zaha, Sako, Schlupp, McArthur

Subs: Henry, Tomkins, Foster-Mensa, Kiki, Sako, Puncheon, Riedewald

he home side from recording their first goal in t

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