Chelsea beat Palace, gear up for Barcelona challenge

Chelsea beat Palace, gear up for Barcelona challenge

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.

CHELSEA BOUNCED BACK from consecutive Premier League defeats by easing to a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace, as Willian scored his fifth goal in five games. 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.

Did Olivier Giroud do enough at centre-forward to earn a start at Barcelona? 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.

Chelsea could have added a few more before the break, but couldn't take advantage of their chances.

Antonio Conte was a manager under pressure before this match, as much because of his perceived pessimism over his team's prospects as their results. Zaha had brought much-needed energy to Palace's attack and had given Chelsea's defense something to think about, other than their upcoming trip to Catalonia.

Chelsea were on top for most of the first half and attempted a total of 16 shots, though both of their goals had more than a hint of fortune about them.

The Blues recovered from back-to-back defeats with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace this afternoon, holding off a late rally from their London rivals after Patrick van Aanholt had given them some hope. Zappacosta gave a poor pass to Christensen who, lost the ball to Alexander Sorloth who raced clear.

Palace nearly pulled one back early in the second half, as Sorloth charged through on goal and blasted against the left-hand post. The 22-year-old striker looked to beat Courtois at his near post but saw his powerful effort cannon off the post. On another hand, a string of Crystal Palace players are on the injury table right now and r the cent injury to talisman Wilfried Zaha further weakens the contention of Roy Hodgson's team in the upcoming fixture.

Antonio Conte's side is locked with Barcelona at 1-1 heading into the second leg on Wednesday. So close! The Frenchman was replaced by Alvaro Morata with a little under 20 minutes to play, and could count himself unfortunate not to have opened his league account. Former Blues youngster van Aanholt made things interesting nearing the end of the match when he scored for Palace on stoppage time. They are a good team fighting a lot to avoid relegation.