Chelsea close gap on Spurs as Palace are left in relegation mire

Chelsea XI to face Palace

Chelsea XI to face Palace

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson added that he wants to take advantage of a Chelsea side not enjoying their best moment.

The pressure will be on both Antonio Conte and Roy Hodgson as they search for their first Premier League victory in nearly a month.

Chelsea go into the game knowing only a win will keep their hopes of fighting for the top four alive, as the Blues now sit five points off Tottenham Hotspur in fourth. This offered a glimmer of hope. A game that should have ended up as a simple practice for Barcelona, however, ended with Chelsea rattled by a late Patrick van Aanholt goal. The Brazil global shone in the Champions League last-16 first leg at Stamford Bridge when his brilliance deserved more than his solitary goal in the 1-1 draw.

But there had been an uncertainty in West London ahead of kick-off, as the evening drew in and the clouds gathered over Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea will now turn their attention to the second leg of their Champions League tie with Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Wednesday. The fans who traveled to the north-west last weekend may have disagreed.

Two first-half goals heralded a return to winning ways in the league with Willian the man who set us on our way once again. They will be looking to close the gap though, as they host Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Hodgson has stuck with Wayne Hennessey in goal for most of this season. 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. Willian's dummy fell to the feet of Hazard and he swiftly helped it on to Zappacosta.

Luckily Martin Kelly was on hand to stop the shot with a goal-line clearance.

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"This win was very important", Conte said.

Palace are still 18 place in the points table but a win would propel them up to 13 place in the points table if other results go their way. Those wins were largely down to the work of Wilfred Zaha, who got the victor in South London. He hit the post and in the first half a defender cleared a chance.

Palace are not in the bottom three without reason, and Chelsea allowed them too much freedom on the ball to create opportunities which a more competent team, e.g.

Davide Zappacosta and Gary Cahill come in for Victor Moses and Antonio Rudiger, with the Germany global getting a full rest ahead of Barcelona on Wednesday.

Giroud was replaced five minutes later, with Morata taking his place for the final 15 minutes.

Antonio Conte said Chelsea can not afford to drop any more points in the race to finish in the top four, as the Blues shook off a run of four league defeats from five to beat Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.

Palace pushed forward and had the ball in the back of the net but saw it ruled out for offside.

The Blues have won 12 and lost only one of their last 19 home league matches in all competitions. They are a good team fighting a lot to avoid relegation.

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