Chelsea beats Liverpool, keeping Top Four hopes alive

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  • Chelsea creeping on Top Four
  • Giroud scores winner
  • Nothing settled til Championship Sunday

Olivier Giroud‘s first half goal was enough for Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea to top Liverpool 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Chelsea moves to within three points of third-place Liverpool and sits two points behind Spurs. Both London sides have two matches to play while the Reds have one.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

James Milner was fortunate to avoid discipline after a scissor challenge on Eden Hazard hobbled the Belgian in the 10th minute.

Chelsea was better money for an opening goal, and Marcos Alonso stung a shot that Loris Karius caught in the 17th.

Thibaut Courtois made a fine parry on a 30th minute Sadio Mane rip, then collected a weaker second effort from the Senegalese striker.

Giroud put Chelsea ahead in the 32nd minute, and ran into the stands to give David Luiz a hug following the marker. Tiemoue Bakayoko spotted Victor Moses on the right flank, and his cross was turned home by the meaty French forehead (Do I owe Arlo White money now?).

Fabregas’ cross was absent receiver in the 36th minute, as a back post run would’ve had Chelsea ahead by two.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Hazard worked through a hassle to set-up an early second half chance, but Moses’ cross zipped past a herd of Blues attackers.

Chelsea had a second goal ruled offside when Antonio Rudiger was clearly off to head home Giroud’s header off a corner.

Chelsea stayed stout over the final 15 minutes, and Dominic Solanke nodded a late chance wide of the goal.

Chelsea joins Man Utd in FA Cup Final

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Chelsea will meet old pal Jose Mourinho in the FA Cup Final after beating Southampton 2-0 at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata scored the goals for Antonio Conte‘s men, whose date with Manchester United comes at the same venue on May 19.

Southampton will turn its attention back to the relegation battle, four points behind 17th place Swansea City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Willian hit the cross bar with an early effort as Chelsea looked very much up for the semifinal.

Olivier Giroud had a 39th minute chance zip wide of the frame, as Chelsea posted nine of the first half’s 11 shot attempts while holding 60 percent possession.

Saints would have been happy to get to the locker room at nil-nil.

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[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Twenty-eight seconds into the second half: That’s when Giroud scored, with Chelsea’s first long ball knocked down by Eden Hazard on the edge of the 18 and played to the Frenchman.

Giroud cut between two Saints defenders and goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to stab home with his right foot.

Hazard curled an effort of his own wide in the 48th minute.

Saints snapped to life, and Shane Long touched around Wily Caballero but too strong to equalize at Wembley.

Nathan Redmond forced a wild save out of Caballero in the 72nd minute, and nearly claimed the corner.

McCarthy tipped a Hazard shot over the bar minutes later.

Morata put it to bed on a cross from his in-tune assist man Cesar Azpilicueta.

The finish was thrilling nevertheless, with Charlie Austin hitting the far post and Saints getting a goal line clearance at the other end.

WATCH: Chelsea’s Giroud scores 27 seconds after halftime

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Southampton held firm against Chelsea’s challenge for 45 minutes of Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal at Wembley Stadium.

Well, 45 minutes and 27 seconds.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 4-1 West Ham ]

The first long ball of the second half saw Chelsea’s Eden Hazard leap to trap, and the Belgian played a quick ball forward to his striker.

That’s Olivier Giroud, who dribbled between two defenders and Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to stab home with the outside of his right foot.

Conte: Chelsea’s had “the right fire in our eyes” in wild comeback

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Chelsea went behind 2-0 at Southampton on Saturday, prepared to open up the fifth place discussion for Arsenal and allow the hosts Saints a Premier League safety lifeline.

[ RECAP: Saints 2-3 Chelsea ]

Manager Antonio Conte was furious with his team when Jan Bednarek scored Saints’ second, but it was inspired sub Olivier Giroud‘s 8-minute double sandwiched around an Eden Hazard marker that inspired a 3-2 win on Saturday at St. Mary’s.

“In every moment of the game you must think positive despite the result. I was very angry for our first half. We didn’t show great desire and great will to fight. I was very disappointed. In the second half we showed great character and a great reaction. We showed the right fire in our eyes. We must be pleased for the second half. It’s not important to win, lose or draw. The important thing is to play with a great intensity and fight from the beginning until the end.”

Stories had circled that Conte did not want Chelsea to buy Giroud, and the Italian did manage some decent if seemingly deflecting words for the well-coiffed French scorer.

“I’m very happy for him. We changed something in the second half and the difference was the approach and the will to fight. It was a great difference between both halves.”

Chelsea has a six-point advantage on Arsenal, who plays Newcastle on Sunday.

Chelsea 2-1 Palace: More Willian electricity

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  • Willian scores 13th of season
  • Blues off to Barcelona at midweek
  • Van Aanholt scores 90′

Willian was the danger man and his goal was joined by a Martin Kelly own goal as Chelsea cruised past Crystal Palace 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Patrick Van Aanholt scored a 90th minute goal to pull one back for Palace.

The Blues remain comfortably fifth with 56 points while injury-hit Palace remains 18th but did get a Wilfried Zaha substitute appearance.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Chelsea was in control early, and Wayne Hennessey answered the bell when Giroud redirected N'Golo Kante‘s shot on target.

Willian then hit a low shot toward the near post that Hennessey collected with a dive.

The Brazilian got it over the line in the 25th minute, cutting into the center of the park and seeing a slightly-deflected offering beat Hennessey to the near post.

A well-worked Chelsea move saw Willian allow a Marcos Alonso cross through his leg to Hazard, who cued Zappacosta for a shot that turned off two Crystal Palace players and into the goal.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Chelsea opened the second half with a poor giveaway, and Alexander Sorloth cranked a shot off the near post as Palace failed to pull back a goal.

Willian worked a 1-2 with Giroud, but took an extra touch on the return ball and saw his shot blocked by James Tomkins.

Hennessey denied Hazard in the 55th minute, as Chelsea looked to keep its form firing on all cylinders ahead of the midweek match with Barcelona.

Wilfried Zaha won a free kick on the left edge of the 18, and his blocked shot found Patrick van Aanholt. His shot was caught by Thibaut Courtois.

A Willian free kick at the other end beat the wall but not the flying parry of Hennessey. And Giroud hit the post in the 67th.

Sorloth had an 85th minute goal pulled back for undisclosed reasons, as Palace probably should’ve had 2-1 with five minutes to play. It got its goal when Van Aanholt prodded a shot through Courtois’ legs in the 90th minute.