Match Report: Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea

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Chelsea sealed the year off with a win against Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon, closing the gap on the top three.

N'Golo Kante bagged the only goal of the game through a fine David Luiz assist to hand Chelsea the victory.

Maurizio Sarri made a couple of changes to his side that beat Watford, with Olivier Giroud and Ross Barkley coming in for Pedro and Mateo Kovacic.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Cesc Fabregas, Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi all missed out through injury.

Chelsea had a bright start in south London as they dominated spells of possession, moving the ball around well into wide areas.

The first real chance of the game fell to Antonio Rudiger. Eden Hazard was fouled on the left-hand side of the box, and Willian's delivery found the defender. But Rudiger went too early, and his effort was easily collected by Guaita in between the sticks.

Midway through the first-half, Olivier Giroud had the ball in the back of the net after a fine finish, but it was adjudged to be offside despite replays showing that the Frenchman was onside.

It was the visitors in full control in the opening half of the game, with intricate passes and Jorginho being at the heart of the Blues' dominance in midfield.

Eden Hazard was once again fouled on the edge of the box after some quick feet, and Willian was the man to take the set piece again. His effort went up and over the wall, but the post denied him.

Shortly after, the Brazilian was at it again testing Guaita. He cut in from the left, and his long-ranged effort was well kept out.

All the possession and dominance still didn't end in a goal for Chelsea, and Ross Barkley was the next to be denied, by the post from an acrobatic attempt from a corner.

Finally, early on in the second-half the Blues took the lead. An excellent ball over the top from David Luiz picked out N'Golo Kante. He chested it down and struck his effort across goal, proving too much for the Palace keeper.

It was nearly two as a delightful flick from Eden Hazard to Willian saw the Brazilian one-on-one, but Guaita denied him.

Olivier Giroud had the ball in the back of the net again, another excellent finish, but again it was ruled out for offside.

The hosts finally woke up in the final five minutes but Chelsea kept them out and sealed another three points, extending their place in 4th by five points.