Crystal Palace-Chelsea Preview
Pleased to finally have that first top-flight victory under their belt, Chelsea still believe there's more to prove going forward.
They can further do so by continuing their undefeated home run Saturday against a Crystal Palace side that's matched their best start in Premier League play.
There was never public panic for the Blues (1-1-1) after playing Swansea City to a 2-2 draw then suffering an embarrassing 3-0 loss to Manchester City at the Etihad. Scoring twice in the first 30 minutes of Sunday's 3-2 victory over West Bromwich Albion helped even though Chelsea's defence still had issues and they played most of the second half a man down following John Terry's red card in the 54th.
"We deserved it," manager Jose Mourinho told Chelsea's official website. "It was difficult but we deserved it."
True to form, the defending league champs didn't spend long patting themselves on the back.
They've dropped five points through their first three league matches after not dropping more than four until late November in 2014-15. Their seven goals conceded through the first three are a club record.
"We are the champions and we have to perform like that," veteran midfielder Cesc Fabregas said. "We have had our difficult moments, we know that. I have said we will soon be at our best individually and collectively. We are proud but we have to keep going."
While the Blues continue to pursue talented young Everton central defender John Stones to shore up the back end, offensively the club hopes to further reap the benefits of having Pedro on the pitch. In his Chelsea debut, the longtime Barcelona star opened the scoring in the 20th minute then assisted on Diego Costa's tally 10 minutes later.
"He's a very good player," Mourinho said. "It's very nice for him to come and straight away perform the way he did."
Chelsea haven't gone winless in their first two league fixtures at Stamford Bridge since 2002-03 when they drew with Manchester United and Arsenal, and are 15-6-0 at home since falling 2-1 to Sunderland on April 19, 2014 - their lone defeat in the last 48 Premier League matches there.
The Blues have usually been on top of their game while going 5-1-0 against Palace at The Bridge. Eden Hazard's 45th-minute strike was the difference in last season's 1-0 victory over the Eagles.
Palace (2-0-1) do face a difficult task trying to reverse their history at Chelsea, but should feel confident after a different player scored each of their six goals recorded while taking two of the first three league matches for the first time since 1997-98. Though that also was the last time the Eagles won their first two road matches, they followed that 2-0-1 start by losing the next three en route to relegation.
However, this Palace roster won't worry about history while trying to build on last Saturday's 2-1 victory over Aston Villa.
"It gives us a good platform going forward and a marker has been laid so it's up to us to try and maintain that and see where we can go from here," Palace captain Mile Jedinak told the club's official website.
Jedinak, however, could sit after suffering a hamstring injury during Tuesday's 4-1 victory over Shrewsbury Town in League Cup action.
The Eagles received an early return from Bakary Sako, who placed the winner in the 87th minute of his Premier League debut last weekend.
"He will be a real asset for us," coach Alan Pardew said of the Mali international who scored 15 goals for Wolverhampton last season in the Championship.