Chelsea have closed the gap been them and Tottenham to just two points after their unconvincing 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace at the Selhurst Park earlier today.
The Blues started and ended the game in a less-fashionable manner as they were very sluggish in turning defence into attack. However, they have to thank N’Golo Kante for scoring the only goal that separated the two teams at the end of the clash.
BEFORE THE GAME
Prior to tonight’s clash, the Blues sat uncomfortably in the fourth position with just two points between them and Arsenal who were in the fifth position.
They were defeated by Leicester City before they managed a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Watford on boxing day.
As for Crystal Palace, they defeated Manchester City before a goalless draw with Cardiff on boxing day.
Both teams needed maximum points to boost their respective missions for the rest of the campaign.
A win would see the Blues create a five-point lead over Arsenal in the race for Champions League’s final qualifying spot.
Picking up maximum points will help Roy Hodgson’s men maintain their position far away from relegation zone.
DURING THE GAME
The Blues were far from impressive during the game as they didn’t really look like a team fighting for a place among the top-four clubs.
They had eight shots in this first period of the encounter but only one of them was on target and they didn’t trouble Palace’s goalkeeper Guaita.
The home team weren’t better either, they registered just four shots (two blocked) throughout the game.
None of them went to Kepa Arrizabalaga who didn’t have a lot to do throughout the encounter.
After 50 minutes of action, the Blues took the lead from an unlikely player as Kante ‘do the Lampard control’ (brought the ball down with his chest) before unleashing a strong shot that was too hot for Guaita to deal with.
David Luiz noticed a great off-the-ball movement from the Frenchman and wasted no time before laying a wonderful pass to him.
That was the only highlight of the game as the Blues failed to double the scoreline. The Eagles didn’t even get close to Chelsea’s box not to talk of equalizing before the end of the encounter.
The Blues eventually picked the maximum points but there was another bad news for Sarri’s already-depleted team as Olivier Giroud was carried out on a stretcher having injured his ankle.
The former Napoli manager now has at least six players on his injury list and he was so sorry for himself as he said: “we are in trouble” during his post-match conference.