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Crystal Palace were simply the better team against Chelsea
Updated 4:17pm Tuesday 1st April 2014 in Sport
Eagles columnist WILL TAYLOR is this week basking in the glory of Saturday’s stunning result against Chelsea.
Crystal Palace 1-0 Chelsea - the match that scuppered a thousand accumulators.
It has been a good 72 hours since the final whistle echoed round Selhurst Park but I am still struggling to comprehend the magnitude of such an unexpected, yet well-deserved victory.
After two demoralising results up in Tyne & Wear, the scene was set for Chelsea, buoyant from their dismantling of Arsenal, to inflict more misery on their London counterparts.
But despite an energetic opening, which saw the visitors dominate possession and Andre Schurrle poke wide when presented with a gaping goal, there was a growing sense of optimism and adventure about the Eagles.
Every time they won the ball back, a counter attack spawned as numerous players surged forward with the attacking intent that has been lacking all season.
Perhaps it was the sense of occasion, the permanent rays of sunshine decorating the pitch or just a newfound sense of belief, but Palace looked capable and indeed confident of finding the back of the net.
Of course, in the end we still needed a helping hand, or rather the forehead of John Terry to flick the ball past an onrushing Petr Cech, but the almost faultless Cameron Jerome should have made the points safe when his shot cannoned back off the post.
In response to going behind, the visitors pushed and probed but rarely penetrated the barricade Palace had erected around their penalty area.
On the only two occasions a shot was fired in on target, Julian Speroni deflected the danger away to once again strengthen his claim for recognition in the Argentinean national squad.
Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the performance was so many previously under-performing players enjoyed the best game of their season.
Kagisho Dikcagoi kept Frank Lampard locked in his shadow, while the aforementioned Jerome was the cliched handful as a constant thorn in the side of Terry and Gary Cahill.
Adrian Mariappa and Jason Puncheon formed a wonderful partnership down the right, pressing as a pair in defence before getting in behind Chelsea’s backline time and time again.
The day would have been perfection personified if Dean Moxey could have sneaked onto the pitch for a cameo showboat or two.
When the noise levels emanating from the Holmesdale stand did briefly relent, there was that lovely reassuring silence in the away end.
There were no excuses, no petty remarks and no contentious decisions to overshadow this memorable scoreline.
We were simply the better team.
And how many clubs have been able to say that against Jose Mourinho?
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