The final margin of victory may have been as slim as possible, but the result on Saturday afternoon never truly felt in doubt. An early goal in either half settled many nerves, and while no game-plan could ever truly be impervious to a quick counter, Chelsea's ability to hold on to the ball was on full display as the game wound down. Of course, without a third goal, any lucky break for Crystal Palace could provide an unlikely foothold. Fortunately for us, their luck only arrived in the form of a consolation goal in the 90th minute.
Jose Mourinho was rightly pleased with the team's overall performance.
"The way we imposed our game pleases me most. I said yesterday they are better than us in the way they play their game. If you come here and don't impose your game you have no chance. The only chance is to impose your game and from minute one to minute 94 we imposed our game: we had the ball, we were in control, we were very far from our box, we moved the ball very well and we played between the lines."
"I think we played very well, really. 10 against 10 is easier than 11 against 11. It's not the same. At half-time we spoke about the differences. My players' interpretation of 10 against 10 was magnificent. The way Matic, Fabregas and Oscar moved to benefit from it was fantastic."
"The only thing we didn't do well was not to score the third goal and kill the game, and to give Palace a chance."
At least we had that all-important two-goal lead to give us a cushion at the end, right? Right.
But I want to hear more about Oscar. Because that little guy (as little as somebody 6' tall can be) has been absolutely fantastic as of late.
"He did fantastically against Arsenal and again today. He's the number 10 that plays with the ball at his feet. He's a number 10 that looks back and to the side. He analyses the game and sees where the team needs him. He creates balances."
"For example, in the first half when they had McArthur man to man on Fabregas, I was so happy with that because Fabregas was taking McArthur from the central area and Oscar was dropping back to play. Him and Matic controlled the game completely for us."
"Oscar has had a mental and tactical evolution that has allowed him to be a fantastic player. Can he physically improve? Of course, but people forget he's still so young. There are great conditions in front of him to keep improving."
The synergy that has developed between Oscar and Fàbregas, after many of us questioned the prospect of the two of them being able to effectively play together, has been nothing short of wonderful. Nemanja Matić rediscovering his from after a slow start to the season has been a more than welcome, if not entirely unexpected development as well. With a supporting cast of Ramires, Mikel, and even Willian allowing us to change the complexion of the midfield to suit the tactical situation, things are definitely ticking along nicely at the moment. That's not to say that our midfield options couldn't improve -- "Pogba," he whispers quietly into the wind -- but on current evidence, things are far better than I had feared.
Mourinho goes on to confirm that it was the consolation goal that prevented Dominic Solanke from making his Chelsea debut, the manager opting for the experience of Didier Drogba instead. And he warns that it's a long season and it's way too early to count our hatched eggs with just a five-point lead.
"If we were in another league I would say immediately yes [we will win the league], but in the Premier League the only thing I can say is we can do it. In the Premier League it's difficult to say we are going to do it. There is a long way to go and there are very difficult games in front of us, so I don't want to say that."
"What I can say is we are a better team than last season; there is a clear evolution in our team and not just based on the fact we bought fantastic players. But to win the title? There is a long way to go"