Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Sport | By Stuart Potter

Chelsea v Crystal Palace: Unconvincing champions not easy to trust

Chelsea v Crystal Palace: Unconvincing champions not easy to trust

Chelsea claimed three points after a turbulent week, but their performance still left something to be desired as Crystal Palace almost clawed their way back into the match with a display of fighting spirit.

However, a mid-week UEFA Champions League clash with Barcelona looms large on the horizon and Conte could be tempted to rest star forwards Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata in a bid to keep them fresh for the trip the Catalonia. Here is our predicted XI.

"Chelsea could be virtually out of the race for the top four this weekend".

Despite the numbers supporting Willian's inclusion in the team, Conte insists his defensive work is equally important. He didn't play a lot of games but despite this his commitment was incredible, he helped me a lot.

Antonio Conte's side have been roundly criticised for their defensive approach during that fixture, in which they were happy to concede possession and territory to the champions-elect. They have fantastic players, are a brilliantly run and powerful club, and have a very good manager and coaching staff.

Chelsea FC have won the Premier League title in two of the past three seasons under Jose Mourinho and then Conte.

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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.

Chelsea have had a bad couple of weeks, losing twice in Manchester to United and City, but I am expecting them to be much improved on their return to Stamford Bridge.

The loss to Manchester United on Monday felt like a seismic one for Hodgson's side.

Roy Hodgson's men have scored in all of their last six away matches, having started the season without a goal in their opening eight games on the road. "Olivier played against West Brom from the start, he played against Hull and he came on in other games, but he's ready". Tiemoue Bakayoko is injured while Ross Barkley has failed to prove his fitness till date.

Hazard, seeking the goal to take him level with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in Chelsea's all-time scorers list, also had one ruled out when rightly flagged for offside after converting from a close-range rebound.

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