Paul Merson states his prediction for Chelsea FC v Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace given major boost ahead of Chelsea match

Wilfried Zaha could play on Saturday

Alexander Sorloth hit a post for Palace and when they did find a way past Thibaut Courtois, it was in the 90th minute and so Patrick van Aanholt's strike proved nothing more than a consolation. "Maybe they did not understand or believe in his tactics on the day, and that was what made them look so lethargic and passive - qualities you never expect from a Conte team." . Sometimes you can think that the situation is easier but we played a good game, with a great desire to win.

N'Golo Kante returns for Chelsea after being rested while Tiemoue Bakayoko is back from a calf strain. The Frenchman returned to the heart of the home midfield and was as busy as ever, setting the high tempo that Chelsea needed. Gaining possession five yards from the left touchline, the Brazilian cut in past two covering players and shot from 25 yards with his right foot.

Willian has had a hand in 16 goals in his last 17 starts for Chelsea in all competitions (11 goals, 5 assists). "We're playing against a really good team, with talented players".

That threat on the ball could help Chelsea produce a shock turnaround in the second leg in the Nou Camp on Wednesday.

The ball seemed to take a fractional deflection as it sped past Kelly and Giroud and went in off the near post.

Seven minutes later and the home side had doubled their lead with a goal equal parts handsome and gormless. Fabregas spread the play to Alonso, whose clever cross was dummied by Willian and collected by Hazard.

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His angled shot hit Kelly, bounced off the head of Hennessey, back on to Kelly, and in. Unfortunately for the Palace defender, his clearance was in turn blocked by his goalkeeper's flying frame and bounced backwards, via Kelly's knee, into the net.

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.

Roy Hodgson's men have scored in all of their last six away matches, having started the season without a goal in their opening eight games on the road.

Palace nearly pulled one back early in the second half, as Sorloth charged through on goal and blasted against the left-hand post.

He's only bagged the solitary goal since his move but the Chelsea faithfuls are beginning to like him ahead of summer signing Alvaro Morata.

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