A second-half strike from Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante after receiving a fine pass from David Luiz was enough for Chelsea to beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park to move five points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal.
Despite the win against Crystal Palace, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri wasn’t happy with the team’s inability to kill off the game with a second goal.
Chelsea had two goals ruled out for offside and twice hit the post in the first half but finally scored five minutes into the second half through Kante.
Crystal Palace also failed to record a single shot on target in a Premier League home game for the first time since March 2017.
“I think we played against a dangerous opponent, because they are very dangerous in short and long counter-attacks, so we had to have good positions under the goal-line in the offensive phase otherwise we were in trouble,” Sarri said.
“I think that we played a very good match for 85 minutes. We were in full control of the match. But we didn’t kill the match and so, for us, it’s very difficult to defend in the box in the last five minutes because we haven’t very good physical impact, so we are in trouble in the box.
“But for 85 minutes we were in full control without conceding anything to the opponents.
“I didn’t like only that we weren’t able to kill off the match before. [It was] better in the second half, I think, because in the first half we did everything very well but slowly. In the second half, for 40 minutes, we moved the ball better.”
Olivier Giroud picked up an injury against Crystal Palace. Speaking about Giroud’s injury, Sarri said: “The problem is his ankle. I don’t know the severity. We have to wait for tomorrow. I think that, later in the evening, I will see the doctor for the first results, but I think the real result will only be known tomorrow.
“In the last few days we were a but unlucky. Yesterday in ten minutes we had three injuries – Fabregas, Loftus and Drinkwater – then Giroud today, and today we were already without Pedro and Odoi.
“We are in trouble because, in January, we have to play every three days.”
Cesc Fabregas missed the game against Crystal Palace due to injury.
“Fabregas is a neck problem. The injury was in the last five minutes of training, so I’m not sure about whether he has to rest for two or for ten days. I don’t know about the moment,” Sarri said.
“I will have a meeting with the doctor this evening.”
Chelsea’s next game will be on Wednesday January 2 when we welcome Southampton to Stamford Bridge.