Maurizio Sarri has confirmed that Victor Moses and Danny Drinkwater are not in his tactical plans this season, but added that he will rotate his team more during the frantic festive fixture schedule.
Drinkwater had offers for a loan move over the summer from more than one Premier League club but they were thrown out by Chelsea as they didn't offer enough of a loan fee, with the club hoping to sell him outright. Meanwhile, Crystal Palace were beaten by Championship side Middlesbrough in the same competition, their fifth consecutive game without a win. While the conventional wisdom at the start of the season was that only Liverpool could challenge Manchester City for the title, Chelsea have showed they are genuine contenders.
8 - Sarri's starting XI encountered problems in the first half but his management of Morata is clearly paying off, and his substitutes - it's always nice to be able to bring on the Premier League's best player this season, isn't it? - turned a hard game in exactly the way he wanted.
Wilfried Zaha missed Palace's defeat to Middlesbrough in midweek due to a shoulder injury but is expected to return for the game at Stamford Bridge, though Connor Wickham, Christian Benteke, Scott Dann and Joel Ward are all out.
Palace are now without a win in six league matches. Chelsea go 3-1 up!
Sarri rested Barkley on Wednesday, with Mateo Kovacic getting the start instead.
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He can spend time with his family, then it's global break and then he will be back". Guardiola said at the final whistle: "He is being checked by the doctors.
Just like Moses, there have been suggestions that the Englishman could depart Chelsea at the start of 2019, but Sarri insisted that will not be the case for Loftus-Cheek.
The Blues failed to find a second in a timely manner and subsequently provided Crystal Palace with an avenue back into the game.
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And though it looks unlikely the Eagles will make it three from four at Stamford Bridge, with Zaha getting at the Chelsea defence Palace are practically a sure bet to score. Any fears that Chelsea would struggle to import Sarri's style of football from Naples appear to have been unfounded: 15 games in, they are still unbeaten.
Chelsea scored with their first shot on target. Had he been partnered by a proper striker, then who knows what might have possible in this game and where they might sit in the table, instead of 14th with only eight goals to their name. Only top of the league Manchester City (27) have managed more.
This term, the 27-year-old has netted five times in 11 Premier League appearances, and according to The Mirror, Chelsea are eyeing a move for the in-form attacker as a replacement for Eden Hazard.