Kante's omission from the match day squad to face league leaders Manchester City had raised eyebrows and after the Blues slumped to a 1-0 loss at the Etihad Stadium, reports filtered in that the Frenchman had collapsed on the eve of the tie.
Thibaut Courtois should be the man in goal.
Having won the Premier League in two of the last three seasons, it is easy to understand what Kanté brings to the table-an element vital to boost the chance of success in England: a relentless work ethic.
Patrick van Aanholt grabbed a consolation in stoppage time but it mattered little in the grand scheme of things and Chelsea moved to within two points of fourth-placed Tottenham ahead of their trip to Bournemouth on Monday morning (AEDT).
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was unhappy following the questioning of his tactics by Eden Hazard, and has hit out at the star as he feels that the plan worked and will keep playing Hazard as the False nine in the upcoming fixtures.
Palace was struggling to contain Chelsea, so the opening goal was far from a surprise.
Chelsea have returned to winning ways in the Premier League by overcoming Crystal Palace 2-1 at Stamford Bridge this evening.
Nine of Palace's 27 league goals this season have been scored in the final 15 minutes of their games (33%).
When Davide Zappacosta's strike bounced off of Martin Kelly, back onto goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, then again against Kelly and into the back of the net, a comical reminder was provided of why some Crystal Palace supporters consider the pair liabilities. Seizing on a miscontrol from Andreas Christensen in the 49th minute, Zaha set Alexander Sørloth clear on goal.
The Blues will take on Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash at Camp Nou on Wednesday night. It will be a case of discussing with him, the doctor and the physios regarding when he's ready to come back.
The French striker, preferred to Alvaro Morata today, diverted a cross over the bar with his head and then hit the frame of the goal from 12 yards.
"HT Palace sub: he's back". One minute from time, Van Aaanholt converted to give Palace a glimmer of hope but it was too little, too late.