Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea: Chelsea player ratings | Premier League 2018-19
Chelsea visited Selhurst Park for their last game of 2018. After losing out to Leicester in their last home game of the year, the Blues looked to get back in form after showing signs of revival against Watford in a 2-1 win. Crystal Palace, on the other hand, also showed some improvement in their form as they produced one of their best performances of the season against Manchester City on 22nd December, winning 3-2.
This fixture presented a good opportunity for the Blues due to the favorable results for them earlier in the weekend as Arsenal got hammered by Liverpool and Tottenham lost to Wolves. A win at Crystal Palace would see Chelsea go five points clear on Arsenal and within two points of Tottenham.
The visitors largely controlled the proceedings initially with over 65% possession in the first half. However, they could not convert their dominance into goals and the first half was a largely tepid affair. Crystal Palace were willing to sit back and looked to pounce on the counter through the dangerous pace of Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend.
The second half was expected to be a cagey affair as it was expected that Roy Hodgson would encourage his team to have a go at their London rivals and at the same time Chelsea needed a goal early in order to gain an upper hand and not leave it late till the end.
Finally, the breakthrough came for Chelsea in the 51st minute. David Luiz launched a sumptuous ball over the Crystal Palace backline and N'golo Kanté controlled the pass and finished it expertly across Guaita into the net.
The hosts did put some pressure but lacked the finishing touch and were left frustrated at the end. Their best chance came right at the end when the ball fell luckily for the substitute Connor Wickham through a freekick but he blasted well over the bar.
Overall, a not stylish but solid 1-0 victory for Chelsea as they finish the calendar year on an encouraging note.