Crystal Palace 0 Chelsea 1
N’Golo Kante’s goal six minutes into the second half gave Chelsea victory at Selhurst Park.
Kante cushioned David Luiz’s chipped ball forward on his chest before firing home with his left boot.
Chelsea hit the post twice during the first half.
Willian clipped the woodwork with a free-kick shortly before Ross Barkley’s overhead flick from Willian’s corner struck the post as well.
Earlier, Antonio Rudiger had a decent chance for the Blues but his header from Willian’s delivery was gathered by keeper Vicente Guaita.
Olivier Giroud, back in the Chelsea side, had two goals ruled out for offside before being taken off injured.
He had a goal rightly disallowed in the first half when he netted after being found by Jorginho, who then sent an effort well wide of the target.
The Frenchman had another goal ruled out 16 minutes from the end of the game – and that decision was more questionable.
He looked marginally onside before collecting Willian’s pass, and to make matters worse for Giroud, he was caught by a challenge from James Tomkins as he fired into the net and was taken off in obvious pain.
Even so, it was definitely a positive afternoon for Chelsea, whose win moved them five points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal.
They were comfortable before a late rally by Palace in which Connor Wickham missed a great chance to equalise by slicing over.
Chelsea: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger, Alonso, Jorginho, Kante, Barkley (Kovacic 87), Willian (Emerson 81), Hazard, Giroud (Morata 75).
Subs not used: Caballero, Zappacosta, Christensen, Ampadu.