Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Willian form means he must start - Conte

Getty Images Getty Images
Domingo Copeland | 11 March, 2018, 01:50

Chelsea have endured back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Manchester clubs, both being narrow losses, but body blows in their pursuit of a top-four finish, as they find themselves five points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham.

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.

They come into the match on the back of a heartbreaking loss to Manchester United on Monday.

Roy Hodgson's hopes of steering Crystal Palace to safety have been put at risk by a spate of injuries at the wrong time.

Don Balon claim that the club has responded positively as they are apparently willing to do whatever it takes to appoint Enrique. Don Balon also reckon Umtiti has made Barcelona team-mate and neighbour Gerard Pique aware of Chelsea's interest in him and hinted he'd be up for the prospective switch.

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Willian broke the deadlock on 25 minutes at Stamford Bridge, firing a low shot beyond Wayne Hennessey to net his fifth goal in his last five Chelsea appearances, the best form of his Blues career.

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace will be looking for a win to move them out of the relegation zone and have already beaten Conte's side this season as well as the corresponding fixture last term.

The Italian was roundly criticised for his timid tactics at Manchester City last week, which saw his side lose by the only goal of the game but never really look like conjuring up an equaliser.

Conte also confirmed that the game against Palace would certainly come too soon for long-term absentee David Luiz and Ross Barkley. Wilfried Zaha, Joel Ward and Yohan Cabaye are doubts for the game. We deserved to win. "I don't think we had all 11 doing that in the first half, but we had all 11 doing it in the second".

At the other end, Chelsea failed to find a third - Willian had a shot blocked by the courageous James Tomkins and a free-kick turned away by Hennessey, who also denied Hazard. Chelsea are down on confidence, face Barcelona not long after this game and could be there for the taking. We are backing Eden Hazard as our prediction in this market, and he is available for similar odds at Coral. This bet is available at the best odds of ¾ at Betfair.

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