Oscar and Cesc Fabregas scored the goals in Diego Costa’s absence, as Crystal Palace was beaten 2-1 at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Blues marked John Terry’s 500th match as Chelsea captain with a win and answered instantly to Manchester City’s 4-1 thrashing of Tottenham in the lunchtime kick off.
It was a lively opening to the match with end-to-end stuff right from the first whistle. Brede Hangeland could have sent the hosts in the lead just minutes into the game, but the Blues defence cleared from the corner.
At seven minutes played, Chelsea got a free-kick about 25 yards away from the goal.
Oscar and Fabregas stepped up ready to fire at goal but it was the Brazilian who stunningly curled the ball across the face of the goal and into the top far corner. A truly beautifully struck free-kick.
Palace front-man Fraizer Campbell was in great shape and caused trouble for Gary Cahill on a couple of occasions, only to see his finishing letting him down.
Cahill seemed to struggle with an international hangover as he set up Campbell in the 12th minute. The centre half tried to head a lofted ball back to Thibaut Courtois, but Campbell snatched it and lifted the ball over both our keeper and the goal.
Just before the break Cesar Azpilicueta saw red after a late tackle with the studs showing on Joe Ledley.
Three minutes later though, Damien Delaney got his second yellow for a pull-back of Loic Remy and it was 10 against 10.
We started the better after the interval and our efforts paid off after 52 minutes. Fabregas combined with Eden Hazard and Oscar and was through on goal. The 27-year-old made no mistakes and increased the lead.
The match seemed over when Palace launched a final push for what would have been an impressive comeback.
In the 90th minute they pulled one back through Campbell, who got a toe to the ball inside the six-yard box after a low cross.
At the final whistle there were no doubts where the points were going, and our five-point cushion at the top of the Premier League was reinstalled.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Willian (Luis 42), Oscar, Hazard (Salah 86); Remy (Drogba 90).