Classy Blues Cruise Past Eagles (Sky Sports)
Crystal Palace 0 Chelsea 2
Chelsea continued their perfect start to the Premiership campaign with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The Blues emerged triumphant from a decidedly low-key London derby after a goal in either half, with Didier Drogba and Tiago both opening their accounts for the West Londoners.
Jose Mourinho's men now sit atop the league and, in truth, Palace never looked capable of preventing them claiming their third successive triumph and could not muster an attempt on target.
It could have been different had Danny Granville done better with a free header from a corner just nine minutes in, but once the defender had skidded his effort wide, the hosts failed to truly threaten again.
Granville atoned in some measure soon afterwards by getting a decisive header at the other end to ensure Drogba's cross did not fall for Mateja Kezman who was lurking with intent at the far post.
The visitors made their possession count by fashioning the first chance of note on 19 minutes after some slick passing. Joe Cole, Tiago and Frank Lampard all combined before Kezman laid into the path of the onrushing Cole who saw a first-time shot from the edge of the Palace box parried away by Julian Speroni.
Lampard then got a sight of goal but his 25-yard half-volley was always rising and never looked like troubling Speroni.
However, the reprieve was temporary and Chelsea hit the front two minutes later with a superbly crafted goal. Kezman played in Celestine Babayaro down the left and the full back's inviting cross was dispatched by Drogba who rose majestically above Popovic to send a towering header into the bottom corner.
The effervescent Cole almost extended the lead on 36 minutes when he collected a half-cleared corner twenty yards from goal and fired in a volley that Speroni gathered at the second attempt.
Drogba had the first effort of the second period but, after cutting in off the left flank, his right foot shot lacked power.
However, Palace started the half with more conviction and served notice that they could still provide a threat to Jose Mourinho's men.
When William Gallas misjudged Mark Hudson's long ball, Andy Johnson nipped in behind the French international for his first real sight of goal, the pacy hit-man opted to hit the ball first time and his screwed his left-foot shot wide of goal, but the moment brought Palace's fans to life.
They were further buoyed by a tricky run and teasing cross from Wayne Routledge that Petr Cech had to come and claim, although Cole soon reminded the home supporters of Chelsea's attacking potency by flashing a shot into the side-netting moments later.
Palace continued to grow in confidence and Hudson demonstrated their growing ambition with a 20-yard effort but, once again, Cech was not called into action. However, Chelsea appeared to be in cruise control and proved the point by moving through the gears to make the game safe 18 minutes from time.
Cole's long pass picked out Drogba who checked back and fed substitute Adrain Mutu; the Romanian rolled the ball square to Tiago who delightfully checked outside Granville before lashing home an instant shot into the bottom corner.
Palace's frustration boiled over shortly afterwards when Hudson slid through the back of Drogba and was cautioned, but the challenge forced the Ivory Coast star from the pitch in palpable discomfort.
Fitz Hall had a chance to pull one back for the hosts in the dying minutes, but John Terry underlined Chelsea's class at both ends by throwing himself in front of the midfielder's shot to ensure the visitors' defence remained unbreached this term.
Granville, Hall, Hudson, Popovic, Riihilahti, Johnson, Kaviedes (Hughes
67), Kolkka, Routledge
Subs Not Used Kiraly, Borrowdale, Derry, Freedman
Cech, Babayaro, Gallas, Ferreira, Terry, Cole (Geremi 76), Lampard,
Makelele, Tiago , Drogba (Gudjohnsen 75), Kezman (Mutu 70)
Subs Not Used Cudicini, Carvalho
Goals Drogba, Tiago