Chelsea managed to make it eleven successive Premier League victories and extend their lead at the top to nine point for the time-being at least. They delivered a professional performance against a battling Crystal Palace side and took the chance that came their way. It was by no means a vintage performance, but it was one that teams need if they are to win the title. They have come through the last week with three 1-0 wins and that is exactly what is required. Antonio Conte has proven himself in the Premier League and his side are now the overwhelming favourites to regain the title in May. Here are three things that we learnt…
Diego Costa is playing the best football of his Chelsea career
The Spanish international struggled last season and it looked like he would leave the club in the summer, but Antonio Conte managed to keep him and Chelsea are now reaping the rewards. The Italian has managed Costa intelligently and it speaks volumes that the striker chose to run over and celebrate the goal with his manager. He had a strained relationship with Jose Mourinho and that clearly had an effect on his performances. Throughout his career, he has played his best football under Diego Simeone and in Conte, Chelsea have a similar character in charge. It was thought that Costa and Conte may clash as they are both aggressive personalities, but it has been the opposite.
In the match today, Costa was good once again and worked tirelessly for his side. Last season, he wasn’t covering as much ground and looked uninterested at times. That isn’t the case this year and he is now focusing on scoring goals, rather than getting into fights on the pitch. His finishing has been incredible this season and whenever a chance comes his way, you expect him to stick it in the back of the net. He was marked well by Damien Delaney and Scott Dann, but when the opportunity was presented to him in the first half, Costa made no mistake and provided Chelsea with the platform to get another three points. Although he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season, his first for eleven matches, and will now miss Boxing Day, he looks like one of the best players in the league again.