Alvaro Morata made it four goals in his last four Premier League matches with a brace as he helped Chelsea to a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace.
The Spaniard’s goals came either side of a a well-taken Townsend strike which temporarily gave Palace belief, before Pedro made the points safe.
Morata had struggled for form at the beginning of the campaign and eventually became used a back-up option to Olivier Giroud under Maurizio Sarri. However, he appears to have rediscovered his goal scoring touch in recent weeks.
Eden Hazard was named on the substitute’s bench, having missed Chelsea’s last three matches through injury and he was clearly missed as Palace impressed in the opening exchanges.
Max Meyer — making only his second league start of the season — was causing the home defence problems and fired over the bar, when presented with an opportunity by Wilfried Zaha following a quick counter-attack on 21 minutes.
The duo combined again moments later to create another missed opportunity but Palace were soon made to pay for failing to take advantage of their early superiority when Morata pounced just past the half hour mark.
Pedro hit a ball towards Morata, which was cut out by defender James Tomkins. However, the ball fell kindly for the former Real Madrid forward, who controlled it well before finding the back of the net.
It could have been two just four minutes later, when Pedro fed Willian, who hit a blasted an past Wayne Hennessey — only for the referee’s assistant to raise his flag.
Palace got an equaliser seven minutes after half-time after Andros Townsend finished off a neatly-worked goal. It appeared to galvanise the visitors, with Zaha and Meyer combining again to cause the Chelsea defence more problems.
David Luiz then came close to putting Chelsea back in front with a header, before Sarri threw on Hazard on 64 minutes to give Chelsea to great effect. Just one minute later, his free-kick found its way to Morata, who put his side ahead for the second time in the match.
The result was put to bed with 20 minutes remaining when Pedro slotted home from Marcos Alonso’s low cross.
Morata had the chance to clinch his hat-trick in stoppage time after being played through by Hazard, but his attempted lob was saved by Hennessey.
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