The title holders have lost four of their last five Premier League games to leave Chelsea FC five points adrift of Tottenham Hotspur, who occupy the final Champions League spot.
Sitting five points back of fourth-placed Tottenham, Chelsea can not afford any more slip-ups this season as they prepare for the visit of Crystal Palace this weekend, perhaps the architects of their most disappointing moment of the season so far. The Eagles are in 18th place, only a point from safety, but have a relatively easy run in, with only two games, including Saturday's, against the big six.
For now, Chelsea can focus on this season's edition of the Champions League, in which they travel to Barcelona on Wednesday with the last-16 tie level at 1-1 after the first leg.
Club captain Gary Cahill also returns to the starting line-up for the first time in the league since the 4-1 defeat to Watford, replacing Antonio Rudiger with a trip to Barcelona on the mind. Martin Kelly and James Tomkins wilted under pressure against Manchester United but have done well in general and should keep their place at the back for this game. After a brief rally following the appointment of Roy Hodgson, Palace are once again struggling to pick up wins in the league. The match will be held at Stamford Bridge in London.
The match was a frustrating one for Giroud, who is still searching for his first Premier League goal since joining Chelsea. However, Palace have scored in each of their last six away games, and we think that they will score on Saturday. This means that Townsend should be very motivated to perform at the highest level against one of the best sides in the league, particularly with the World Cup in Russian Federation fast approaching.
"We can only hope that we can reproduce the recent performances against similar opponents, and give them as good a game as we did against Spurs and [Manchester] United".
"We have to show great resilience", Conte continued.
Willian is a clear contender to be the club's player of the season come May, which would be the second time he had won the award.
Conte said David Luiz and Ross Barkley were injured and he had to "check a couple of situations", without going into further detail.
Townsend was my key man when Palace took on Manchester United and he was clearly one of the most unsafe players for Crystal Palace with his experience and pace into the final third.