Morata brace sends unbeaten Chelsea second

Morata brace sends unbeaten Chelsea second

Alvaro Morata continued his strong recent form with a brace as Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 3-1 at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Sunday.

The Blues laboured to fifth-place and finished 30 points behind champions City last season; playing underwhelming football throughout a campaign the was overshadowed by reports of rift between Chelsea players and former manager Antonio Conte.

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.

Andros Townsend's superb low finish had cancelled out a Chelsea lead given to them by Spanish forward Morata's clever shot-on-the-turn.

After a fast start to his Chelsea career after a then club record £60 million move from Real Madrid past year, Morata had scored just twice in 20 Premier League games before netting in last month's 3-0 win at Southampton.

"But I think, also, that Alvaro has a very great physical and technical potential, so I think he can improve more". The Eagles are over-reliant on Zaha to get them out of trouble on most occasions, which is never a good thing.

DF Antonio Rudiger, 8 - Sarri no doubt wished Townsend had been in a footrace with the Germany global rather than Luiz for Palace's equaliser.

FW Willian, 6 - This was his 11th start in a row and while he generally looks more risky cutting in from the left flank, there was a noticeable lack of pop and imagination in his play against Palace's massed defensive ranks.

Last week against Burnley, Chelsea proved they can manage without Eden Hazard, scoring four goals with four different goalscorers and will have to do so again for at least a half with the Belgian not fully fit.

- Townsend has scored three Premier League goals against Chelsea - more than he has against any other opponent.

Suddenly Palace began to look a lot more risky 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.

Chelsea ace Ruben Loftus-Cheek is set to face Crystal Palace for the first time since his return to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea should welcome Eden Hazard back in to the squad after he recovered from a back injury.

Key Stat: Ross Barkley is the first Englishman to score in three consecutive Premier League games for Chelsea since Frank Lampard in 2013. Had he been partnered by a proper striker, then who knows what might have possible in this game and where they might sit in the table, instead of 14th with only eight goals to their name.

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