Paul Merson states his prediction for Chelsea FC v Crystal Palace

11 March, 2018, 01:49 | Author: Cary Erickson
  • Pic Reuters

Chelsea have been handed a major injury boost before their crucial Premier League clash against Crystal Palace with Blues boss Antonio Conte revealing defensive midfielder N'Golo Kante is fit again after suffering a scare last week.

Chelsea's victory - only their third in their last nine league games - keeps the pressure up on fourth-placed Tottenham, who face Bournemouth on Sunday.

Palace, meanwhile, is looking to move out of the relegation zone.

The defeat leaves the Eagles stranded in 18th place, one point adrift of Southampton in 17th.

For now, Chelsea can focus on this season's edition of the Champions League, in which they travel to Barcelona on Wednesday with the last-16 tie level at 1-1 after the first leg.

To have been leading 2-0 and in complete control of the game and then falling to a last-minute loss must have been galling for Palace, especially after they conceded a late victor against Tottenham in their previous game.

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Chelsea need to be playing in the Champions League - it's where we belong.

Roy Hodgson sent on Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha for the second half in place of Benteke, and it nearly paid off instantly.

"The teams ahead of us are going with a great velocity and it is important for us to not drop points in games, and in the future exploit the games we have at home".

"When you lose many games in a row it's not simple", Conte added.

Giroud saw one effort cleared off the line and also hit the post, but Conte feels the Frenchman had a "positive" display nonetheless. They have fantastic players and are a brilliantly run club, a powerful club. There is Benteke. There are many good players in this squad.

The hosts will be without the services of Tiemoue Bakayoko, David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu.

Wilfried Zaha (knee) and Mamadou Sakho (calf) will both undergo late fitness tests but Joel Ward, Scott Dann, Yohan Cabaye, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jason Puncheon, Bakary Sako, Connor Wickham and Julian Speroni are all out. 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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