Chelsea edge Crystal Palace to get back to winning ways

11 March, 2018, 01:48 | Author: Elena Meyer
  • N'Golo Kante is set to play for Chelsea a week after he passed out in the dressing room. Peter Powell  EPA

Chelsea are looking to reinvigorate their chase for a top four finish, while Crystal Palace will be in survival mode when the two sides clash at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Chelsea now sits fifth in the Premier League, five points behind Tottenham Hotspur, who occupy the final spot for next year's European competition.

The reigning champions lost to Manchester United and Manchester City in their last two games, but things were rather more straightforward this time around and they should have claimed a more comprehensive win over Palace given the number of chances they created.

They were excellent against Barcelona though and were unfortunate not to win that game, and will have one eye on Wednesday's return leg. "It's important to have balance within the game because when we lose our balance it's very hard". Antonio Conte has cut a disgruntled figure throughout the campaign and it would be something of a surprise if the Italian remained in charge at Stamford Bridge next season.

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Conte must decide whether to play Alvaro Morata or Olivier Giroud up front, or to continue with Eden Hazard as a false nine in tactics which were criticised following the lacklustre loss at City. We need to have a good performance, to get three points.

The academy youngster wanted to leave Palace in January for first-team football but stayed and has broken through because of injuries to Hodgson's back line.

The struggle for Chelsea is to secure one of the four Champions League places. We are talking about a player with great experience. It's a pity at the end we conceded the goal and then we played three minutes a bit nervous because after you dominate the game you hope to feel the game more relaxed. So when you have a player out for anything length of time there's always a risk you'll push for him to come back earlier than he should.

Conte also confirmed that the game against Palace would certainly come too soon for long-term absentee David Luiz and Ross Barkley. They are expected to be without the likes of Connor Wickham, Scott Dann, Jason Puncheon, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Bakary Sako, Julian Speroni and Mamadou Sakho. Chelsea are down on confidence, face Barcelona not long after this game and could be there for the taking. This means that Townsend should be very motivated to perform at the highest level against one of the best sides in the league, particularly with the World Cup in Russian Federation fast approaching.


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