top four with a win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea have endured back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Manchester clubs, both being narrow losses, but body blows in their pursuit of a top-four finish, as they find themselves five points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham.

Palace, having enjoyed a strong run of form through November and December, are back in the Premier League's relegation zone, a point adrift of safety.

Chelsea deservedly received scathing criticism for their extraordinarily negative approach in last week's 1-0 defeat at champions elect Manchester City.

Zaha has been a key player for Palace this season with four Premier League goals in 20 starts but has not featured since he played the full 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on February 4 despite picking up the injury in that game.


Despite next Wednesday's Champions League clash at Barcelona, Conte insisted the Palace game has priority.

The loss to Manchester United on Monday felt like a seismic one for Hodgson's side. The match will be held at Stamford Bridge in London.

"I tried to keep him for another season but he wanted to play and I understood this".

However, Hodgson has been boosted by a quicker-than-anticipated return to training of Wilfried Zaha. With only one win in their last five league games, Chelsea are hardly in the best of shape and have let down odds-on backers on several occasions recently. We need to have a good performance, to get three points.

The hosts now sit in the relegation zone but a victory on Saturday could propel them out of the drop zone and give them a little bit more hope of stay up.


"We have to show great resilience", Conte continued.

He said: "Normally when you come against a team not having the best of times, that can be a very risky time to play them". Bakary Sako, Connor Wickham, Julian Speroni, Mamadou Sakho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Scott Dann and Jason Puncheon are all ruled out for this game with injuries.

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"David Luiz is injured, and also (Ross) Barkley, and then I have to check a couple of situations", Conte replied when asked if he had any other injury concerns. Chelsea are down on confidence, face Barcelona not long after this game and could be there for the taking.


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