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Chelsea ends year in top-four

Chelsea ensured their year ends on a high after scraping past Crystal Palace 1-0 in an English Premier League showdown at Selhurst Park.

There was a moment of silence prior to kickoff to commemorate the supporters of both clubs who passed away during the year and the late Ray Wilkins who turned out for both too.

On the field, contrasting fortunes preceded the two sides with Chelsea coming off a tough 2-1 win at Watford and Palace being held to a goalless draw by Cardiff City at home.

The Eagles were chasing a record of four successive clean sheets at home for the first time ever in their Premier League sojourn.

The two sides settled comfortably with the rhythm of the game, but their lack of inventiveness in the final third left a lot to be desired following the half and hour mark.

A presentable opportunity came the way of Chelsea in the form of a free-kick outside the box. Willian took the honours and deflected it off the wall and onto the post on 33 minutes.

The Brazil international then pounced on a loose ball before drifting onto the outside of the defence to force Vicente Guaita into punching for a corner moments later.

The post came to Palace’s rescue again from the corner with Ross Barkley’s overhead kick from a tight angle.

The post came to Palace’s rescue again from the corner with Ross Barkley’s overhead kick from a tight angle.

After a slow opening half, Ngolo Kante brought the second half to life when he chested down a through pass after running behind the defence to slide his shot past Guaita on 50 minutes.

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