London: Cheolsea returned to winning ways in the Premier League, handing Crystal Palace a solitary goal defeat at the Stamford Bridge on a day on which the Blues paid tributes to the late great Gianluca Vialli.
Kai Havertz scored the match-winner, rising highest in the air 65 minutes into the match to end the goalless deadlock in the London derby to head in Hakim Ziyech’s delivery as Stamford Bridge paid its respects to its former player and manager in their first home match since the Italian’s passing.
Chelsea were also indebted to a string of important saves from Kepa Arrizabalaga, the most important of which came late on to deny Cheick Doucoure.
The victory ended a run of three consecutive defeats for Chelsea as they moved to 28 points from 19 matches, the same as Liverpool who have a match to play.
With Lewis Hall and Hakim Ziyech providing width across the pitch, Chelsea started with intent and were soon venturing into the Crystal Palace penalty area.
Their teenage full-back Benoi Badiashile led the charge, driving forward down the inside-left channel before firing a ball into the six-yard box that was expertly watched and cleared by Joachim Andersen.
At the other end, the Eagles fashioned opportunities of their own and Kepa Arrizabalaga had to be quick off his line to head clear before the Spaniard thwarted Michael Olise with a flying save to push away a rising strike on the half-volley. In between those efforts, Tyrick Mitchell was also denied by a spreadeagled Kepa save.
In another match, Newcastle United defeated Fulham 1-0 with Alexander Isak scoring in the 89th minute.