The first game of this Premier League weekend is a galvanizing London derby – Crystal Palace vs Chelsea.
Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace has not been in the best of their forms of late. They have won only one of their last 10 games and are currently languishing at the 16th position of the league table. They also have the third worst record in conceding goals this season, as their opponents found the net as many as 31 times in 16 games. Only Hull City (35) and Swansea City (34) have conceded more than them. In fact, each of the Eagles’ last eight games has seen three-plus goals, and that includes a 4-5 goals galore against Swansea. Chances are high that a free flowing Chelsea would rampage through the Palace defense at Selhurst Park.
The visitors will be boosted by the return of Eden Hazard who missed the clash against Sunderland. Chelsea managed a narrow 1-0 win in that game and consolidated the top position in the league with a 6-points lead over second placed Liverpool. Antonio Conte would surely want to snatch three points from the Palace tie to increase the lead further. Moreover, the Blues have won 10 matches on a trot and yet another win would be crucial to make a strong statement to the other title contenders.
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea possible lineups:
Pardew has several injury worries before this game. James Tomkins, Bakary Sako, Mathieu Flamini, Jonathan Benteke, Loic Remy, Connor Wickham and Pape Souare will be unavailable. However, Jason Puncheon, who missed the last game against Manchester United due to a suspension, is going to return for sure. He will probably replace Yohan Cabaye who did not have a good game against United. In a 4-2-3-1 formation, the following is the likely starting lineup for the Eagles.
Chelsea will continue to enjoy the effective 3-4-3 formation and Hazard will be in his right wing position. That means, Pedro should return to the right flank and Willian will probably drop to the bench. Cesc Fabregas’ inspiring form would help him retain his place in the midfield, ahead of Nemanja Matic. On the other hand, Conte would further be ecstatic not to have major unavailability issues. John Terry has recovered from injury and should feature in the bench. The only absentees would be Mikel and Oscar, the latter having already agreed upon a move to China in January.
Key players: Wilfred Zaha (3 goals, 8 assists) and Christian Benteke (8 goals, 1 assist) have been in good touch this season and the Eagles will be heavily dependent on this two. So far as the away side are concerned, Hazard and Diego Costa will be the key men.
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea last meeting:
Chelsea won both legs last year, by the narrow margins of 2-1 and 1-0.
Recent form in Premier League (latest result first):
Crystal Palace: L-D-W-L-L-L.
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea betting odds:
Crystal Palace – 11/2, Draw – 6/5, Chelsea – 8/13.
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea TV guide:
The match will kick off at 12:30pm local time (6pm IST, 6:30am CST). Live telecast can be found in Sky Sports 1 (UK), NBCSN (USA) and Star Sports Select HD 1 (India). If you want to have a live streaming link, please send us a message to our official Facebook page.
What is your prediction for the Crystal Palace vs Chelsea fixture? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo by tEdits