Chelsea cement their lead at the top of the table

Match Day 17. Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace | December 17th, 2016


A record breaking day. 11 in a row. This is the most wins in a row that Chelsea has ever had.

‘Booing’ filled Selhurst Park, nearly as much as the fog did, as Diego Costa was substituted for Michy Batshuayi late in the second half. Yet, you begin to hear everyones favorite chant: “Diego, Diego, Diego.” Diego Costa proved to be the difference yet again, scoring a ‘delicate’ header [13th goal of the season], giving Chelsea the 1-0 edge just before the half. Interestingly, this is the first headed goal for Chelsea in the 2016-17 season.


Chelsea never seemed to find a rhythm in the first half. You could say Palace looked the better team, but against the ‘grain’ of the game, Costa netted his header. Once we reached half time, you could bet that Antonio Conte would transfer some of the touch line passion back into his side. I was ready to see us come out of the tunnel and absolutely dominate Palace. That didn’t happen. The next 20 minutes, it seemed like Palace’s side of the pitch was no longer there, as they set up camp in the Chelsea half. Fast forward to what seemed to be Antonio Conte’s earliest substitution, on comes Cesc Fabregas for Willian. Cesc gave an injection of order and rhythm to the 11. Immediately he walks through Wayne Hennessey’s box, implementing a dangerous ball into the center of the box. Later he recorded a shot on target, reminiscent of his goal against Sunderland, mid-week. Overall A performance that surely erased all the talk of a Fabregas exit in January.

Other than a Marcos Alonso free kick that rattled the crossbar, the most notable events of the second half of this game were Yellow cards raised towards Diego Costa and N’golo Kante. Both will miss the next game on boxing day due to accumulation of yellow. Costa has been on that brink for 11 games. Yes that is 11 games, our entire win streak, that Costa has not been booked.

That is the way the game finished, another ‘comfortable’ 1-0 win. Our 3rd 1-0 win in a row. All 3 of those games have come in the last calendar week, our first time this season we have had to face 3 opponents in such a short span.

Here are the Premier League’s leading scorers:

 

Antonio Conte hails contribution of ‘complete player’ Diego Costa

Antonio Conte hails contribution of ‘complete player’ Diego Costa

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte insists he has no regrets over his failed pursuit of Romelu Lukaku and hailed in-form Diego Costa as the “complete player”.

Costa leads the Premier League scoring charts with eight goals this season, while Lukaku, who Chelsea moved for in the summer, has found the back of the net on seven occasions. The two strikers will go up against one another on Saturday evening when Chelsea play host to Everton at Stamford Bridge.

Brazil-born Costa struggled for form and goals under former boss Jose Mourinho last season, leading the Blues to show an interest in the player whom they sold to Everton for B£28million in 2014.

But Costa, 28, has thrived under Conte at Chelsea this year, and his recent goal at Southampton was his 40th in the Premier League from 64 appearances.

Asked if he had any regrets over the failure to sign Lukaku in the summer, Conte replied. “Absolutely not. We have Diego who is playing fantastic football – not only scoring goals but working a lot and very well for the team.

“I think I am seeing a complete player in Diego. It is fantastic for me to have him in the team, and also because he is scoring a lot. Everybody is working a lot for the team and that is very important.

“Lukaku for sure is a very good player. He is young and improving a lot, but I am very satisfied with my players. In this case I hope Diego continues this way because his commitment is incredible.”

Vote for your EA Sports Player of the Month

Public can help decide who is named the best Premier League player in October.

After an exceptional month for Chelsea, Antonio Conte’s side boast three of the seven nominees for the monthly accolade in N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa.

eden-hazard-october-2016

Despite the fact that Eden Hazard has already been announced as the Premier League PFA Fans’ player of the Month (Hazard won 27,262 votes on the poll, which was held by Sky Sports), the fate of the EA Sports Player of the Month is still to be decided.


Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
The 2014/15 Premier League Player of the Year continued his resurgence through October with three goals, an assist, seven chances teed up for team-mates and 17 completed dribbles.

 

 

 

 

kante-thumbN’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
An ever-present in October, Kante has been the linchpin of Antonio Conte’s new 3-4-3 formation. As well providing the team a defensive solidity that meant they did not concede in October, Kante laid on six chances for team-mates, completed 247 passes and scored a memorable goal against Manchester United as Chelsea won four matches out of four.

 

 

 

diego-costa-thumbnailDiego Costa (Chelsea)
If Kante has been Chelsea’s driving force, and Hazard the wizard on the wing, Costa has represented Chelsea’s cutting edge. The Spain forward maintained his early-season form, scoring three goals as well as providing an assist, to take his tally to an unrivalled eight for the season.

 

 

 


The others to make the cut are Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton, Stoke City midfielder Joe AllenLiverpool‘s Philippe Coutinho and Ikay Gundogan, of Manchester City.

october-2016-potm

You can cast your vote by clicking here. The vote for October’s winner will close at 23.59 GMT on Monday 7 November. Because of the international break, the winner will be announced on Friday 18 November.

Conte’s Favorite Sweets?

Antonio Conte has started importing his favourite throat lozenges from Italy to help smooth Chelsea’s move up the Premier League table.

Conte is a vociferous coach and has yelled himself hoarse while transforming his team from the wreckage of their 3-0 defeat at Arsenal last month.

His tactical changes, including a switch to a back-three, have been rewarded with four straight victories in the Premier League, with 11 goals scored and none conceded.

Antonio Conte has yelled himself hoarse during Chelsea's recent revival in the Premier League

Thibaut Courtois has the worst save percentage

Despite displacing Petr Cech as the Chelsea No 1 to be a mainstay in the Blues’ title win less than 18 months ago, Thibaut Courtois has become statistically the worst goalkeeper in the Premier League.

A promising start to the season under Antonio Conte has disappeared after successive defeats by Liverpool and Arsenal, and this latest development will give the Italian plenty of food for thought.

The 24-year-old has a save percentage of 47.1 so far this season, meaning he is letting more opposition shots on target hit the back of his net than not.

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois issues instructions during Chelsea's defeat at Arsenal

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois issues instructions during Chelsea’s defeat at Arsenal

The Belgian No 1 has the lowest save percentage of all Premier League goalkeepers

The Belgian No 1 has the lowest save percentage of all Premier League goalkeepers

The man whose place he took in the Chelsea starting line-up finds himself eighth in the league table, with a more than respectable save percentage of 70.8.

But leading the way at the top are Manchester City and Tottenham No 1s Claudio Bravo and Hugo Lloris, who have stopped 77.8 per cent of shots on target each.