Chelsea see off Palace to get back on the winning track
Mar 11 2018 by Michele Stevens
The 2-1 win reduced the gap to the top four for last season's champions to two points, but Tottenham can extend it if they win at Bournemouth on Sunday.
MARTIN KELLY'S double blunder handed Chelsea their first win in almost a month and cranked up the pressure on struggling Palace. 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.
"Townsend, for me, is a really good player".
The in-form Willian got the first, as his 25-yard effort took a deflection on its way in, before Martin Kelly put into his own net after a Davide Zappacosta shot caused problems.
Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud has performed well at Chelsea in his brief appearances. Marcos Alonso was allowed to maraud down the left wing and square to the edge of the box. Six minutes later Giroud should have scored again but hit the post from the penalty spot.
Chelsea FC have won the Premier League title in two of the past three seasons under Jose Mourinho and then Conte.
However, Conte's men were wildly inaccurate - or rather we should say unfortunate - in front of the goalkeeper.
Van Aanholt ensured a nervy end to the game by reducing the deficit on the dot of 90 minutes. More eye-catching interplay between Fabregas, Willian and Hazard left the Belgian in space very close to goal, but he declined to shoot and instead laid it on a plate for Giroud.
The defeat leaves the Eagles stranded in 18th place, one point adrift of Southampton in 17th.
The win moves Chelsea to 56 points as they ended their two-match losing run in the Premier League whereas Palace's losing streak is up to four games and they remain in the bottom three. Zappacosta gave a poor pass to Christensen who, lost the ball to Alexander Sorloth who raced clear.
Roy Hodgson sent on Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha for the second half in place of Benteke, and it nearly paid off instantly. An opportunist goal, his 13th of the campaign, combined with an effervescent display and a willingness to tackle back made this a man-of-the-match performance for the Brazil global.
These are just a few of the thoughts that will be whirring around in Conte's head as he finalises his game plan for Wednesday, and the choice he faces is the most important one he will make this season.