Chelsea’s lead at the top of the Premier League was cut to seven points after they suffered a shock home defeat by Crystal Palace and Tottenham beat Burnley.
Antonio Conte’s side had won their past 10 league games at Stamford Bridge and had not lost there in any competition since 16 September, but saw that run ended by a battling Eagles side.
The Blues struck first, when Cesc Fabregas turned home Eden Hazard’s cross after five minutes, but they were quickly left behind. Wilfried Zaha produced a fine solo finish to turn and fire home from the edge of the box and, 91 seconds later, set up Christian Benteke to put Palace ahead with a brilliantly chipped effort.
Chelsea piled on the pressure and had 24 shots at goal, their second-highest total in 29 league games this season. But they could find no way past Eagles keeper Wayne Hennessey, who made 11 saves in total to ensure his side won a fourth successive game.
More than 10 minutes of stoppage time was played before the game ended, but Chelsea did not appear any more likely to score and were reduced to hopeful balls into the box as Hazard’s influence faded.
Antonio Conte’s side remain in a strong position at the top of the table but, if tiredness was an issue against the Eagles, it could affect them again in the next few days.
Chelsea’s lack of European involvement means they are not used to playing in midweek, and only 13 different players have started 22 league games for them since 1 October. With two games in the next seven days, at home to Manchester City and away at Bournemouth, Conte may have to test the strength in depth of his squad for the first time.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte spoke about the result, “This is football. We must accept this result. We scored our goal after five minutes and then we conceded two in a few minutes. When you concede goals in that way you must understand the situation and improve on these mistakes.
“In every game in England, anything can happen. The league is so strong. We faced a team today with strong players. I think they showed they were a good team.
“Now we have to think about the next game. If we had won we would have been happy but now it’s important to focus on Manchester City.”