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Álvaro Morata double helps Chelsea sweep past Crystal Palace

Chelsea are not dismissing opponents with quite the same panache as Manchester City, or even drawing as much focus in the title race as a resurgent Liverpool. Yet, almost on the quiet, Maurizio Sarri equalled a Premier League record here by extending his unbeaten start in the division to 11 matches, and it is the Italian’s team who are sandwiched between the more fancied contenders at present.

This was an impressive victory not least because Chelsea were challenged, and even pegged back, early in the second half but, rather than panicking, they responded. It helped they could fling on Eden Hazard from the bench, of course, with the Belgian’s introduction after a back injury instantly sending a ripple of apprehension through Crystal Palace’s ranks and his mere presence serving to raise Chelsea’s collective standards. None of his sparkle had been dimmed by a three-game absence.

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