Chelsea wins in style
CHELSEA signaled its intent to surge up the Premier League by crushing Crystal Palace 3-0 yesterday in a stylish display that had shades of last season's cruise to the championship.
Oscar, Willian and Diego Costa scored for Chelsea, which is out of realistic title contention following a dismal start to its defense but could still challenge for a Champions League spot on the evidence of its performance at Selhurst Park.
The champions are unbeaten in four matches under caretaker manager Guus Hiddink since firing JosE Mourinho a week before Christmas, but are still languishing in 14th place 13 points behind fourth-place Tottenham.
Spurs lost ground in the title race by drawing 1-1 at Everton in the other game, with Dele Alli's superb volley earning Spurs a point after canceling out Aaron Lennon's opener.
Spurs' domination at Goodison Park shows they are genuine challengers for the trophy. Only six points separate Tottenham and its north London rival Arsenal in first place, and Spurs have only lost twice all season in the league.
The belief appears to be back at Chelsea, which looks a different side to the one that struggled under Mourinho.
Costa ran on to Fabregas' through-ball, cut in and squared a pass for Oscar to sidefoot home into an empty net for the opening goal in the 29th. Willian struck a rising shot into the net from long range to make it 2-0 in the 60th and then played a part in the third goal, sending in a shot that was parried out to the feet of Costa inside the six-yard box. Costa couldn't miss.
The only negative for Chelsea was the sight of Eden Hazard hobbling off with a groin injury. The Belgium winger has failed to reproduce his fine form from last season, when he was voted player of the season in England.