Why Kante is growing into his new role with Chelsea

Christian Pulisic Exciting talent

Striker Olivier Giroud became the Blues' latest casualty, hobbling out of the 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday (Dec 30) and leaving Selhurst Park on crutches.

Chelsea laboured for long spells against a disciplined but relatively unambitious Palace side, hitting the post twice in the first half from Willian's curling free kick and Ross Barkley's overhead kick from a corner.

Kante broke the deadlock in the 51st minute when his darting run into the Crystal Palace penalty area was spotted by defender David Luiz.

"I think that we played a very good match for 85 minutes", Sarri said.

Considering the fact that some of these players - Moses and Ampadu - haven't been playing since the start of the season, they are definitely match-rusty and would require much time on the field of play to return back to shape.

"We could have scored early but they also did a great match defensively, which is why it was so hard", Chelsea's Luiz told reporters.

Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi were unavailable because of hamstring problems and three midfielders - Cesc Fabregas, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and the out of favour Danny Drinkwater - all picked up injuries on the eve of the match. We had to have good positions.

"After they scored the goal we missed two opportunities but we couldn't get hold of the ball enough as they kept it too well and we weren't able to get it from them". It was the midfielder's third league goal of the season - the most he has ever managed in a single top-flight campaign.

Still, there appears the added competition from AC Milan, although the Italian side's Financial Fair Play concerns may mean that the Blues could take advantage over the proceedings by discussing a straight-cash deal rather than going with monthly settlements. "[Loftus-Cheek], especially, is a very great player with the ball, but he can improve a lot in his movement without the ball".

"That's what we did but it didn't work as we didn't score".

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