Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea: Lone N’Golo Kante strike secures Blues valuable win
Chelsea have moved to within one point of Manchester City after N’Golo Kante’s goal downed Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The Blues secured a narrow defeat of Roy Hodgson’s side, courtesy of Kante’s third goal of the season which was scored early in the second half.
Palace remain five points clear of relegation following their final match of 2018.
Chelsea were deserving of their win, with Palace only truly threatening in the final minutes.
However, for all the Blues’ domination of the ball, they struggled to break down the host’ solid defence and find a way past the impressive Vicente Guaita in goal.
And their winning goal came from an unlikely source, with Kante getting on the end of David Luiz’s excellent pass to hit the back of the net.
City can restore their four point lead over Chelsea should they beat Southampton later today, though the Blues will definitely end 2018 just two points behind Tottenham.
Furthermore, Maurizio Sarri’s side have opened up a five point gap between themselves and Arsenal in fifth place, ensuring they have tightened their grip on a place in the top four.
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Moment of the match
Olivier Giroud started the match but was forced off injured, after scoring two goals that were both ruled out for offside.
It looked a serious blow for Giroud as he rolled his ankle upon the turf, and a long-term absence would place further strain on Eden Hazard – who has been playing as a centre forward recently – and Alvaro Morata – who returned from injury against the Eagles.
Finding a striker to score goals has been a real issue for Chelsea this season, and an injury to Giroud will do little to ease Maurizio Sarri’s headache.
Kante put in a typically energetic performance, fulfilling all his defensive duties, and he capped it with the winning goal.
There has been serious criticism of Kante this season for his inability to perform the role Maurizio Sarri requires of him, but such an all-action performance will have his critics remaining tight-lipped today.
Premier League table
Wolves vs CRYSTAL PALACE (January 2)
CHELSEA vs Southampton (January 2)
Source: SportsLatest TS