Sports

Chelsea beats Palace in EPL before trip to Barcelona

Chelsea beats Palace in EPL before trip to Barcelona

Willian's enormous recent form has not escaped Chelsea coach Antonio Conte, who lauded the Brazilian as "fantastic" after he scored and starred in Saturday's 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.

The Blues have lost four of their last five games in the league, and they come into this on the back of consecutive defeats to Manchester clubs.

Crystal Palace: After going 2-0 up against Manchester United on Monday, Roy Hodgson's side then conceded three in a row to drop a golden opportunity to get out of the relegation zone.

Chelsea themselves lost to Manchester City and Manchester United in their last two games and will be desperate to get back to winning ways at home this weekend.

They were excellent against Barcelona though and were unfortunate not to win that game, and will have one eye on Wednesday's return leg.

Former Arsenal midfielder Merson believes Chelsea FC will edge to a comfortable win against Palace, especially with Ivory Coast global Wilfried Zaha sidelined for the Eagles.

They somehow failed to take the lead in the eighth minute, though, as Olivier Giroud's scuffed effort from close-range went straight to Wayne Hennessey.

The hosts have kept five clean sheets in their last six league games at Stamford Bridge.

History is on Palace's side - they've gone home with maximum points on their last two visits here. They deserved more against Tottenham and against United. We are talking about a player with great experience.

Indeed, Crystal Palace could become only the second team to win three consecutive away Premier League games at Stamford Bridge, after Blackburn Rovers (1993-94 to 1995-96).

Willian is a clear contender to be the club's player of the season come May, which would be the second time he had won the award. I trust a lot in all my players, " Conte assures.

Tiemoue Bakayoko and Ethan Ampadu are back from injury but they only make the bench.

They nearly added a fourth on the stroke of half-time, but Tomkins made a brilliant intervention on the line to deny Giroud at the end of an exceptional move.

Wilfried Zaha (knee) and Mamadou Sakho (calf) will both undergo late fitness tests but Joel Ward, Scott Dann, Yohan Cabaye, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jason Puncheon, Bakary Sako, Connor Wickham and Julian Speroni are all out.