Chelsea have endured back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Manchester clubs, both being narrow losses, but body blows in their pursuit of a top-four finish, as they find themselves five points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham.
Willian gave the Blues the lead in the 25th minute at Stamford Bridge, while when Martin Kelly helped the ball into his own net after the hour mark the Eagles were looking at a hard 60 minutes to come.
Leading up to this game, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte said: "They [Palace] lost the last couple of games".
Seven minutes later and the home side had doubled their lead with a goal equal parts handsome and gormless.
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Cummins, Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc put the clamps on South Africa's scoring but couldn't take the big breakthrough. That was the fourth ball of the third session, and Hazelwood returned immediately from the other end.
Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud has performed well at Chelsea in his brief appearances.
Cesc Fabregas began it with an inch-perfect pass out to Marcos Alonso on the left. Hazard helped Alonso's low cross on into the path of Zappacosta, and Martin Kelly could only redirect the Italian's firm shot into his own net.
However, Conte's men were wildly inaccurate - or rather we should say unfortunate - in front of the goalkeeper.
Palace are not in the bottom three without reason, and Chelsea allowed them too much freedom on the ball to create opportunities which a more competent team, e.g.
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Willian is Chelsea's in-form player with four goals in the past four games, and could provide the spark for a potentially big result against a struggling Palace side.
The defeat leaves the Eagles stranded in 18th place, one point adrift of Southampton in 17th.
Willian's goalscoring form continued in Chelsea's next match at Manchester United and the Brazilian made it 13 for the season in all competitions - a career-best - in Chelsea's 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday. But with Palace offering little going forward in the first half, Hodgson brought the 25-year-old on at the break, and his impact was immediate. Palace went up 2-0 thanks to goals from Andros Townsend and Patrick van Aanholt, but succumbed to a furious United fightback to lose 3-2.
They were excellent against Barcelona though and were unfortunate not to win that game, and will have one eye on Wednesday's return leg. The French striker was replaced by Alvaro Morata in the 72nd minute but may have pushed himself into contention for a start at the Camp Nou.
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You know what they say, you either win or you learn and Chelsea have been doing a lot of learning this season.