Conte backs Giroud after 'very important' Chelsea win

Chelsea XI to face Palace

The reigning champions lost to Manchester United and Manchester City in their last two games, but things were rather more straightforward this time around and they should have claimed a more comprehensive win over Palace given the number of chances they created. It was nearly the ideal game, if we didn't concede the goal at the last. And that, whatever the result today, their remaining fixtures give them a very decent chance of escaping their current predicament. Make no mistake, Chelsea's season is on the line. There are still 27 points to play four including two "six-pointers" at home against current incumbents of the top four, Tottenham and Liverpool.

"The tactics were the same against Barcelona [in the Champions League],' Conte said".

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson was disappointed with defeat to Chelsea on Saturday. "It's important to have balance within the game because when we lose our balance it's very hard".

Team to face Crystal Palace: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill (c); Zappacosta, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Giroud, Hazard. Pitch invaders, board-directed rage and a stolen corner flag summed up another abysmal afternoon for the east Londoners, who remain only three points above the relegation zone with a tough run-in to come.

Chelsea's second of the game in the 34th minute had a touch of luck.

For the third time in the game, a miraculous defensive block denied Chelsea their third goal of the game. "For sure when you have so many chances it is important to be clinical, but we must be pleased with the performance of the team and prepare for Barcelona". Nevertheless, they will still need to be defensively concentrated.

The Italian defender was found in acres of space inside the visitor's box and his shot firstly deflected off the Palace goalkeeper and then eventually off a helpless Kelly.

The Brazilian wide-man was excellent all game and on 25 minutes he cut in from the left, ghosted past two Palace players before driving home a low, shot past Wayne Hennessey.

After three minutes Olivier Giroud glanced a header over the crossbar from a cross by Davide Zappacosta on the right. The young Dane has had a tough time lately, seeing the slightest infractions go ruthlessly punished. "The game will be totally different". We will be playing against one of the best teams in the world.

There is much to prove for everyone, whether it be the players or the coaching staff.

It was a surprisingly good game for the Chelsea skipper as his side won the game with his inclusion in the starting lineup.