Chelsea v Crystal Palace


They trail Tottenham by five points with only nine games left in the season, and may have to settle for a Europa League place come the end of the season.

Premier League champions Chelsea registered a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday night.

Olivier Giroud might have had a hat-trick but is still waiting for his first Chelsea goal in the Premier League. They dominated the ball and had seven attempts at Wayne Hennessey's goal in the opening 20 minutes, albeit without truly testing the Palace goalkeeper. If they play as well as they did in the first half at United last month there is a possibility Eden Hazard or Willian may find something to smile about.

Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud has performed well at Chelsea in his brief appearances. The move deserved a more elegant finish as the ball sped from Cesc Fabregas out to Marcos Alonso on the left, and then infield towards Willian. Hazard helped Alonso's low cross on into the path of Zappacosta, and Martin Kelly could only redirect the Italian's firm shot into his own net.

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Chelsea could have added a few more before the break, but couldn't take advantage of their chances. Today's game provides the flawless opportunity for us to do that, and Antonio Conte has pulled no punches with his team selection. For sure, compare that with the Barcelona game, I think we were not so good in ball possession. What followed was calamitous for the visiting fans behind the Palace goal, as they watched Kelly's clearance from Zappacosta's shot cannon back off Hennessey and rebound off the defender and into the goal.

Willian has had a hand in 16 goals in his last 17 starts for Chelsea in all competitions (11 goals, 5 assists).

Jason Cundy has warned Chelsea that they will need to defend better against Barcelona than they managed in a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday evening.

But he returned to make a decent showing against the Blues, carving out the assist for Patrick van Aanholt's late consolation.

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The Norwegian must have thought his first goal in English football was a formality, but he hit his shot against the post.

Thibaut Courtois should be the man in goal.

They were excellent against Barcelona though and were unfortunate not to win that game, and will have one eye on Wednesday's return leg. This time fortune was on Palace's side.

Replaced Giroud in the 72nd minute and did not have much of a contribution.

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