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August 1 2021 7.44am

Sodden awful...

January 4 2016

Selhurst Park (Photo: Andy Roberts)

Selhurst Park (Photo: Andy Roberts)

Palace's home fixture with Chelsea appeared to be at an ideal moment in time. We were flying high and they had been flying low. Cruel fate had other ideas, as Jamesey recounts.

In the many years I have been writing for HOL, I have rarely if ever tried to analyse a match which I didn't actually attend.

Nevertheless for our home fixture against Chelsea (Jan 3), I claim diplomatic immunity because of a nasty cold and chest infection.

When the staff at St George's Hospital, Tooting, start addressing you by your first name it's somewhat disconcerting.

I had no intention of reacquainting myself with the porters trundling me to the Pneumonia High Risk Unit any sooner than necessary, so I stayed at home, watched the TV and enjoyed the diabolical weather from the inside.

Heartfelt apologies to some of the HOL members on the message boards complaining about empty seats; mine was one of them.

Being a veteran Palace supporter, I have learned to be ever-cautious but the Chelsea game looked like a pretty even match on performances so far on both sides.

The Eagles were without Yohan Cabaye, Yannick Bolasie and Connor Wickham although the Blues were half way through what was, for them, a catastrophic season.

It looked like a reasonable chance for a Palace win and a chance to sneak up to 5th in the league.

Indeed for the first half hour or so, the Eagles steamed in with the usual high-energy and direct approach. There were missed opportunities but the Red-and-blues looked more than capable of a victory.

However an Oscar tap-in after 29 minutes put the Blues in front and at that point, Chelsea decided to remind ourselves and the world that they are a top-class side.

In the second period, they literally ran rings around us and for all the well justified complaints about refereeing inconsistency (Damien Delaney booked but similar fouls by Chelsea ignored), we were outplayed by a superior team on the day.

Two more goals from Willian and Costa made it a convincing three-goal win for the visitors, reminding CPFC of our vulnerability and lack of depth.

It was depressing to read in the following day's press reports all the drooling at Chelsea's "recovery" and little coverage of the Eagles display.

Nothing really changes does it?

To finish up, many decades ago before the club became a Russian trillionaire oligarch's plaything, Chelsea used to affectionately be called "The Pensioners", due to the proximity of a comfortable barracks home for ex-servicemen.

Can't really think of an appropriate nickname now. Any suggestions should be addressed to the Proprietor, Stamford Bridge.

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