LONDON (Reuters) – Second-half strikes by Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic handed Chelsea a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace and a sixth consecutive Premier League victory that pushed the Blues up to second in the standings on Saturday.
Abraham broke Palace’s resolute defensive line in the 52nd minute after a first-touch pass from Brazilian midfielder Willian and the centre-forward, who spearheads Chelsea’s new-look young side, sidefooted past goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.
Pulisic capped a fine display on the wing by making it 2-0 in the 79th minute when a shot by substitute Michy Batshuayi was blocked by former Chelsea defender Gary Cahill and looped into the air invitingly for the American to head home.
Chelsea coach Frank Lampard fielded the Londoners’ youngest-ever Premier League starting 11, giving 19-year-old defender Reece James his first start in the league as he replaced Cesar Azpilicueta.
The return of N’Golo Kante after a groin injury, in for Jorginho who was suspended, seemed to give Chelsea a stiffer spine in midfield as they recorded only their third clean sheet of the season.
With the win, Chelsea leapfrogged Manchester City and Leicester City, who have yet to play this weekend, into second spot in the table. They are five points behind leaders Liverpool, who have also a played a game less.
(Writing by William Schomberg, editing by Pritha Sarkar)