Chelsea climbed to third place in the Premier League with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Tuesday.

Frank Lampard's Champions League hopefuls surged ahead with goals from Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic, before Wilfried Zaha hit back in stunning fashion.

Giroud's opener came after just six minutes as the visitors capitalised on the misfortune of former Chelsea player Gary Cahill.

The in-form Pulisic doubled the Blues' lead in emphatic style before the half-hour mark, but Zaha's wonder-strike kept the away side on their toes.

Tammy Abraham's cool 71st-minute finish was followed promptly by a Christian Benteke tap-in, but Roy Hodgson's men were still condemned to a fourth straight defeat after Scott Dann was denied by the post at the death.

Chelsea broke the deadlock when Cahill appeared to pull a hamstring chasing Reece James' ball in behind, allowing Willian time and space to pick out Giroud to steer home from close range.

With Cahill off injured, Palace's day went from bad to worse when Pulisic lashed in from 12 yards, with Willian again providing the assist. 

The lively Willian went close to a grabbing a goal of his own, but Vicente Guaita proved equal to the Brazilian's side-footed effort.

Palace sprung into action in a spectacular manner soon after, Zaha arrowing a glorious strike beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga from 30 yards.

Abraham's precise finish from Ruben Loftus-Cheek's neat pass appeared to put the game to bed but Chelsea switched off and Patrick van Aanholt laid on an unmissable chance for Benteke barely a minute later.

However, Palace were unable to complete the comeback, with Dann's header hitting the upright deep into stoppage time as Chelsea, beaten 3-2 in their previous away game at West Ham, reversed that scoreline this time.

What does it mean? Chelsea hunting Foxes

It is tight in the battle for a top-four finish, with Chelsea putting five points between themselves and fifth-placed Manchester United. They also edged ahead of Leicester City and into third ahead of the Foxes' clash with Arsenal. Palace, meanwhile, stay 14th.

Willian the key to unlock Palace

Willian, who had two assists, has now been involved in five goals since the resumption of the Premier League campaign, only behind Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes (six) as the division's most productive player in that time frame. He created a game-high five chances.

A reunion to forget for Cahill

Cahill won two top-flight titles and the Champions League with Chelsea, but this reunion with his old club will not make the scrap book. He was not to blame for the opener, as pure bad luck saw him struck by injury at exactly the wrong moment.

What's next?

Chelsea head to Sheffield United on Saturday, with Palace taking on struggling Aston Villa on the road the next day.

With football no closer to being resumed as the coronavirus pandemic continues, players across Europe's top-five leagues have lots of time to pore over their performances from this season.

Using Opta data, we have already examined some of the worst attacking numbers from 2019-20, so now it's the turn of those ball-playing technicians: the pass-masters.

We have analysed nine key metrics for outfield players to play in at least 10 league games this season, thereby giving us a good summary of those whose passing could use some improvement. Those metrics are focused on the number of passes (overall, in a player's own half and their opponent's half), the accuracy of those passes, corners and crosses, and losing possession.

As always when it comes to data, context is key. For instance, we have included overall accuracy percentages to give balance to the simple number of passes. A team's playmaker or set-piece taker, for example, is arguably more likely to have a larger number of misplaced passes than team-mates simply because he will be attempting more of them, and often in difficult areas.

It's also worth noting that the number of times possession has been lost excludes 'Hoofs' (which, by their nature, make losing the ball more common), while corner and crossing accuracy is taken only from those to attempt, on average, at least one per game.

That said, the below gives a good indication of some passing figures that need improvement - and there are one or two surprising names...

THE WORST PASSING STATS IN EUROPE'S TOP-FIVE LEAGUES 2019-20:

BUNDESLIGA:

Most passes failed: Robert Andrich (291)
Worst passing accuracy: Anthony Modeste (55.4 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Jamilu Collins (110)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Kai Proger (60.5 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Sebastian Andersson (215)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Anthony Modeste (42.1 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Filip Kostic (199)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Wendell (0 of 22)
Most times possession lost: Filip Kostic (616)

LALIGA:

Most passes failed: Leandro Cabrera (352)
Worst passing accuracy: Enric Gallego (48.6 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Pervis Estupinan (94)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Sergio Leon (57.1 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Joselu (283)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Leandro Cabrera (43.5 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Jesus Navas (134)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Karim Benzema (0 of 19)
Most times possession lost: Pervis Estupinan (534)

LIGUE 1:

Most passes failed: Issiaga Sylla (281)
Worst passing accuracy: Suk Hyun-jun (44.8 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Fabien Centonze (111)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Suk Hyun-jun (50 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Andy Delort (238)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half:  Suk Hyun-jun (44.4 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Mathieu Dossevi (142)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): M'Baye Niang (0 of 11)
Most times possession lost: Angel Di Maria (539)

PREMIER LEAGUE:

Most passes failed: Trent Alexander-Arnold (480)
Worst passing accuracy: Christian Benteke (52.4 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Cesar Azpilicueta (132)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Matej Vydra (50 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half:  Trent Alexander-Arnold (359)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Christian Benteke (48 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed:  Trent Alexander-Arnold (246)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Gabriel Martinelli (0 of 22)
Most times possession lost:  Trent Alexander-Arnold (867)

SERIE A:

Most passes failed: Stefano Sabelli (324)
Worst passing accuracy: Lautaro Martinez (59.5 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Stefano Sabelli (94)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Stefano Sabelli (230)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Florian Aye (58.5 per cent)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Roberto Inglese (54 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Erick Pulgar (134)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Kevin Lasagna (0 from 13)
Most possession lost: Stefano Sabelli (494)

AND THE TOP NINE:

Most passes failed: Trent Alexander-Arnold (480)
Worst passing accuracy: Suk Hyun-jun (44.8 per cent)
Most passes failed, own half: Cesar Azpilicueta (132)
Worst passing accuracy, own half: Suk Hyun-jun and Matej Vydra (50 per cent)
Most passes failed, opposition half: Trent Alexander-Arnold (359)
Worst passing accuracy, opposition half: Anthony Modeste (42.1 per cent)
Most corners/crosses failed: Trent Alexander-Arnold (246)
Worst corners/crosses accuracy (minimum 10): Wendell and Gabriel Martinelli (0 of 22)
Most times possession lost: Trent Alexander-Arnold (867)

Belgium completed a dominant Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 10th win in 10, crushing Cyprus 6-1 in Brussels on Tuesday.

Roberto Martinez's Red Devils signed off from Group I in real style as Kevin De Bruyne and Christian Benteke both scored twice, albeit only after Cyprus had improbably led through Nikolas Ioannou.

The Belgian response was swift, Benteke and Yannick Carrasco scoring as De Bruyne bagged a brace before the break.

An own goal and Benteke's second following the restart saw the World Cup semi-finalists end qualifying on a remarkable total of 40 goals, more than any other side in Europe.

Hans Vanaken should have opened the scoring for Belgium after 10 minutes but incredibly missed the target from six yards following Thorgan Hazard's teasing low cross.

The hosts were swiftly punished, too, as Ioannou's left boot proved far more clinical, with a low finish sent beyond Simon Mignolet.

Belgium were behind for less than two minutes, though. Benteke failed to make contact with De Bruyne's right-wing cross but scrambled to prod in when Carrasco returned the ball from the left.

A string of Neophytos Michael saves initially kept Belgium at bay as they chased another, yet the goalkeeper gifted De Bruyne a goal 10 minutes before half-time, comically fumbling a bobbling volley into the net.

De Bruyne had his second before the break, firing in with the aid of a slight deflection, before Carrasco volleyed through Michael's legs from Hazard's centre.

It was more of the same after half-time as Michael spilled De Bruyne's shot and directed Carrasco's rebound onto the post, only to see Kypros Christoforou prod in a tame own goal moments later.

Yari Verschaeren poked a one-on-one tamely wide, but Benteke - completely out of sorts in the Premier League - was clinical when similarly sent through, dispatching the chance with his left foot.

Benteke looked destined for a hat-trick until he dallied with an open goal, allowing Christoforou to recover, with the Red Devils settling for six.

What does it mean? Belgium an attacking force to fear

Belgium have seen front men Romelu Lukaku, Benteke and Michy Batshuayi each have issues with form at club level during this campaign, while chief creator De Bruyne has dealt with an injury. To still end with such a tally in the goals-for column is staggering. The opponents have been modest and greater tests are to come, but the Red Devils will expect to outscore anyone.

De Bruyne a class above

Eden Hazard was similarly involved in much of Belgium's best work, but this was a De Bruyne masterclass. He cut through the Cyprus defence time and again, playing every type of pass to tee up team-mates. The Manchester City man still found time for a pair of goals and looks in fine nick heading into a busy club period.

Unhelpful contributions

De Bruyne and Eden Hazard were capable of beating Cyprus without any help but gleefully accepted the unorthodox assistance that came their way. Michael made an awful mess of De Bruyne's shot when the visitors looked like reaching half-time still level, sparking a collapse.

What's next?

Martinez will settle in to assess club action over the coming months, hoping De Bruyne and his other key players come through unscathed ahead of Euro 2020. Cyprus will merely be spectators when the tournament kicks off, perhaps grateful to avoid another meeting.

Christian Benteke and James Tomkins have signed new deals with Crystal Palace, the Premier League club have announced.

Belgium striker Benteke has scored just one top-flight goal since the start of last season and was due to be out of contract next June.

The 28-year-old has agreed to stay on for a further 12 months, however, while centre-back Tomkins has extended his deal through to the end of 2021-22.

Tomkins has played 87 times for the south London side since joining in 2016, but he has not featured since injuring his groin in April.

Palace confirmed the new deals on their official website on Thursday and chairman Steve Parish added: "I'm pleased that agreements have been reached with these two important senior players. 

"Both James and Christian bring vast Premier League experience, commitment and professionalism to the squad.  

"These new deals show that we recognise their levels of performance in recent seasons, that we believe in both players, and that they are hugely motivated by the direction the club is heading."

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