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Football news - N'Golo Kante strikes to sink stubborn Palace

Kante strikes to sink stubborn Palace

30/12/2018 at 11:50Updated 30/12/2018 at 15:57

Premier League, Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace 0, Chelsea 1 (Kante 51')

N’Golo Kante scored the only goal of the game as Chelsea beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The first half will no doubt have frustrated the Chelsea side, with Marcos Alonso booked within 10 minutes for having lashed out at the ball in anger. Crystal Palace played a predictably defensive game, holding a tight back line to deny Chelsea’s efforts.

Chelsea had a couple of good chances and hit the post twice, with eight shots to Palace’s solitary effort during the first half. However, the visitors struggled to get wide enough or pick up enough pace to penetrate Palace’s solid defence.

Chelsea's Jorginho in action with Crystal Palace's Andros Townsend

Chelsea's Jorginho in action with Crystal Palace's Andros TownsendReuters

In the second half it was N’Golo Kante who was able to capitalise on a slack moment in the Palace’s defence to tap in the only goal of the match.

Chelsea continued to put pressure on the home side, but Palace – though looking slightly more vulnerable owing to a change in formation by manager Roy Hodgson – were able to keep them at bay.

The final 10 minutes saw a push by Palace – who were worthy of a point – to equalise, prior to which little had been seen of Wilfried Zaha. But it was too little too late for the South Londoners and the match ended 1-0 to Chelsea’s favour.

TALKING POINT – Can Hodgson defend Palace out of danger?

A typical Roy Hodgson performance and solid defensive effort by Palace could have seen them take a point had it not been for a weak moment. However, they may not be able to defend themselves out of danger unless they are also able to take more chances and create better attacking opportunities.

Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) against Crystal Palace

Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) against Crystal PalaceGetty Images

MAN OF THE MATCH – N’Golo Kante

It would have been hard to pick out a member of the Palace backline, had they kept hold of their clean sheet, though the praise must go to the man who managed to crack it – N’Golo Kante – in an otherwise underwhelming match.

PLAYER RATINGS

Crystal Palace: Guaita 7, Wan-Bissaka 7, Tomkins 7, Sakho 6, Van Aanholt 6, Milivojevic (c) 7, Kouyate 7, McArthur 7, Schlupp 6, Townsend 6, Zaha 6. Subs: Meyer 6, Wickham 6.

Chelsea: Arrizabalag 6, Azpilicueta (c) 7, Rudiger 7, David Luiz 7, Alonso 7, Kante 7, Jorginho 7, Barkley 7, Willian 6, Giroud 6, Hazard 6. Subs: Emerson 6, Kovacic 6, Morata 6.

KEY MOMENTS

17' CLOSE! Kante finds himself in front of the Palace keeper and it's a powerful low strike, but fizzes just wide of the post.

28’ OFFSIDE! Giroud finally breaks though the Palace defence, but it’s offside and the goal won’t count.

51’ GOAL! N'Golo Kante finally cracks it as he races ahead of the back line to receive the ball in front of the goal and tap it in.

KEY STAT

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