Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Sci-tech | By Brandy Patterson

Wilfried Zaha returns for Crystal Palace in Chelsea loss

Wilfried Zaha returns for Crystal Palace in Chelsea loss

The title holders have lost four of their last five Premier League games to leave Chelsea FC five points adrift of Tottenham Hotspur, who occupy the final Champions League spot.

Willian inspired Chelsea's 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday as the Blues got back to winning ways ahead of their Champions League showdown with Barcelona.

Seven minutes later and the home side had doubled their lead with a goal equal parts attractive and gormless. Olivier Giroud is also off the mark for the Blues and will eager for an opportunity to get some more goals under his belt against the lowly Eagles. It began with Cesc Fàbregas spinning a pass from deep inside his own half to release Marcos Alonso down the left.

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.

Asked if he would play Hazard as a "false nine" again this season, Conte said, "Yes, but if I think its right for the team to play in this way, it's OK".

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Palace are not in the bottom three without reason, and Chelsea allowed them too much freedom on the ball to create opportunities which a more competent team, e.g.

Chelsea players celebrate Willian's goal against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

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. "You're going down with the West Ham", they sung to Palace, who remain one point from safety.

Chelsea 1-0 Crystal Palace LONDON - Three quick thoughts from Stamford Bridge as Chelsea held on for a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League.1.

Zaha brought an attacking threat to Palace that had been absolutely lacking in the first half. 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 worldwide.

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Van Aanholt ensured a nervy end to the game by reducing the deficit on the dot of 90 minutes.

Zaha caught Zappacosta in possession and Alexander Sorloth was left with only Thibaut Courtois to beat.

Antonio Conte's side is locked with Barcelona at 1-1 heading into the second leg on Wednesday. One minute from time, Van Aaanholt converted to give Palace a glimmer of hope but it was too little, too late.

Subs not used: Caballero, Ampadu, Emerson, Moses.

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