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Morata fires Chelsea to Palace win as Sarri equals PL record

Matt Morley by Matt Morley @rfutbol - 0 6,583

Pin Morata scored twice to continue his hot streak. AFP
Morata scored twice to continue his hot streak. AFP

Morata fires Chelsea to Palace win as Sarri equals PL record

Matt Morley by Matt Morley @rfutbol - 0 6,583

A brace from the in-form Alvaro Morata helped Chelsea claim all three points as Crystal Palace came to town on Sunday as Maurizio Sarri equaled the record for an unbeaten start to a Premier League career.

The 'Blues' went into the game looking to keep pace with leaders Manchester City after they thumped Southampton at the Etihad earlier on Sunday.

However, they were met with a Palace side that provided a decent amount of resistance for long spells at the Bridge.

The visitors limited their bigger-name opponents for much of the first half and had glimpses of goal themselves, namely when Max Meyer fired over first time from the edge of the box after being picked out by Wifried Zaha.

Morata's predatory instincts proved too much for Palace, though, with the Spaniard finding the breakthrough with 32 minutes gone.

Pedro fired the ball across the six-yard box and Morata was on hand to control and slide a low effort beyond Wayne Hennessey.

Willian thought he had doubled the advantage three minutes later, but his effort was harshly disallowed for offside as he converted after Pedro's strike was deflected into his path.

With that, Chelsea went in at the break a goal to the good, but the visitors pegged them back eight minutes after the interval.

Andros Townsend was slipped in behind by James McArthur and the England international drove a fine right-footed effort across Kepa and into the far corner to restore parity with Palace's first effort on target of the game.

Chelsea looked to respond immediately and came within a whisker of doing just that, Hennessey making a sharp save to deny David Luiz's header from a Willian free-kick.

Sarri had seen enough at that point, turning to his bench to bring on Eden Hazard and the Belgian had an instant impact as he laid on Morata's second just seconds after coming on.

Hazard's free-kick from out on the right wasn't cleared and it ran all the way through for Morata to bring it under control and fire low across Hennessey and into the back of the net from a narrow angle.

The victory was then secured with 20 minutes to go as two more of Chelsea's Spanish contingent took centre stage, Marcos Alonso crossing low for Pedro to side-foot into the far corner from the penalty spot.

A late Palace push yielded no real chances and it was Chelsea who should have added further gloss to the scoreline late on as Morata ran through clear with Hennessey, only to be denied by the big Welshman as he tried to complete his hat-trick with a dinked finish.

The win sees Chelsea extend their unbeaten league run to 11 games keep pace with Manchester City at the top of the division, whilst Sarri equaled Frank Clark's record for an unbeaten start to a Premier League career (11 games) set back in 1994/95.

Palace remain 14th, just three points above the relegation zone with games against Tottenham and Manchester United to come next.

Matt Morley

Matt Morley

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