Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho came out after his side’s 2-1 victory and praised the Eagles and their supporters. Palace fans by the bundle were also positive on the outlook, as were a number of national media outlets in their analysis.
This is a big improvement on just over a month ago, and creates the potential for Palace to plot their escape from relegation. At times in the second half against the former Premier League and Champions League winners the Eagles looked like the more confident side and were unlucky not to equalise when Stuart O’Keefe’s effort was cleared off of the line.
Beforehand, this was generally seen by supporters as a write-off game, against one of the top teams away from home they were not expecting anything. Yet even after going 1-0 down the team did not crumble and Marouane Chamakh managed to find an equaliser to make it three in three for him. Although Chelsea were able to restore the lead before the half time break, they had by no means run away with the first half although had been better overall.
Arguably this was reversed in the second period. Although Chelsea had opportunities to kill the game off, they failed to do so and Palace continued to push for the equaliser. This in itself is a very positive point. Many teams, 2-1 down at Chelsea, would be looking at damage limitation and keeping the goals against column as low as possible.
This was not an issue for Palace who took the game to the hosts and perhaps on another day could have come away with something. The fact they didn’t is not important, what is is the performance which, if transferred to a game against a lesser opponent should give the Eagles a good opportunity.
The one thing to be wary of with this renewed optimism is that it doesn’t turn into expectation, which can have the negative effect of complacency. However, the team will be aware of their league position and know that they need to earn the right to survive in this league.
Newcastle at home next will be an interesting match-up given their recent good form that has seen them climb the table and currently sit above Tottenham and Manchester United.
Daniel Smith - @dmsmith1987