Conte sticks with 3-4-3, Giroud over Morata

Chelsea XI to face Palace

Conte sticks with 3-4-3, Giroud over Morata

Two consecutive defeats, and four in five Premier League games, had seemingly sunk Chelsea in the Premier League's tight top-four race.

Chelsea have turned to Olivier Giroud to shake off their slump in front of goal as Antonio Conte's men host Crystal Palace on Saturday.

DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 7 - Did a good job of shackling Chelsea's backline together and keeping tabs on Christian Benteke and Alexander Sorloth in the first half. 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. 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.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson added that he wants to take advantage of a Chelsea side not enjoying their best moment. "If you look at the very best sportspeople in history and the present you see something in their eyes that makes you think that when they are competing they can never be happy or satisfied".

The opening goal came from a player Conte has sometimes been reluctant to rely upon, but who has proven highly dependable for Chelsea this season.

Palace defender Martin Kelly had an inadvertent hand in both goals.

Palace are still 18 place in the points table but a win would propel them up to 13 place in the points table if other results go their way.

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.

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

However, the 90th-minute goal he eventually created for Van Aanholt against his former club came too late.

They were excellent against Barcelona though and were unfortunate not to win that game, and will have one eye on Wednesday's return leg.

FW Alvaro Morata, NR - Replaced Giroud midway the second half but lacked the impact of the ex-Arsenal striker and was wasteful with the ball when involved in the play. This time fortune was on Palace's side.

You know what they say, you either win or you learn and Chelsea have been doing a lot of learning this season.

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