London, Jan 3 (IANS) Defending champions Chelsea earned their first victory in Guus Hiddink’s second spell as head coach with a 3-0 win against Crystal Palace in an English Premier League (EPL) encounter at the Selhurst Park here on Sunday.
The Blues’ four-match run without defeat is their longest this season and moves them to 14th position in the league, still 12 points adrift of a Champions League spot. They have 23 points — same as Norwich City but ahead of goal difference, as Palace remained in the seventh spot.
Oscar put the Blues ahead against the run of play, tapping home after being put through by Diego Costa in the 29th minute.
Once they scored Chelsea dominated, deservedly doubling their advantage with a spectacular Willian strike in the 60th minute.
Spanish international Costa sealed the win with a tap-in for a goal his performance deserved after Palace failed to clear Willian’s shot.
As the game edged towards its conclusion Oscar came close to adding a fourth, evading two challenges before his low drive was blocked, while Costa met a Willian cross at the far post and volleyed marginally over the bar.
Palace, clearly affected by the third goal, struggled to get in behind a Chelsea defence which had seldom been troubled throughout and we saw the game out with little fuss.
With this win, Hiddink, who replaced Portuguese Jose Mourinho last month, remains unbeaten with two draws and this win.