Chelsea ensured they would finish a below-par 2018 with three points as they squeezed past Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, beating them 1-0.
Chelsea survived Crystal Palace’s comeback as a brace from Alvaro Morata and a Pedro goal meant Andros Townsend’s second-half equaliser had little impact.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek was one of the breakthrough success stories of the Premier League last season. In an attempt to get more experience, the 22-year-old joined Palace on loan during the summer of 2017 from Chelsea. Not many would have anticipated the success that was to follow, but the youngster played a starring role in keeping the Eagles in the top flight and ended up also earning a place in the 23-man England squad that reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup.
Former England and current Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has backed youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek to become a “top player” at international level.
Saturday’s late kick-off could have been a banana skin for Chelsea as Crystal Palace made the trip to Stamford Bridge. However, the Blues didn’t allow that to happen with a narrow 2-1 win, thanks to Willian’s opener and a Martin Kelly own goal. Patrick van Aanholt scored in the dying minutes but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation.
Chelsea succumbed to their third defeat of the season as Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace picked up a deserved home win and their first Premier League points of the campaign.