Chelsea vs Crystal Palace: Match Preview
League leader Chelsea will lock horns with bottom placed Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are now 10points clear on the top of the table and will hope to continue their winning streak in their first match after the international break.
The Eagles on the other hand, have also kept three clean sheets in their last three games and earned nine points to come out of the relegation zone. So a tough fight will occur between Chelsea’s attacking prowess consisting of Diego Costa, Hazard and Pedro and the Eagles defence. Chelsea have won all of their last five EPL home games.
In some matches their form dipped but they managed to win those matches with individual brilliance of Hazard and Pedro and cemented their no 1 spot. Crystal Palace have a better away record than home record. On the basis of away record they are tenth placed while two teams have worse home record than the Eagles- Middlesbrough and Sunderland.
Kick-off: Saturday 3pm(UK), 16:00 CET, 7:30pm (IST)
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistants: S. Ledger, I. Hussin
Fourth official: A. Marriner
TV Channels: beIn Sports 1, NBC SN, TSN 1, Star Sports Select HD2
Eden Hazard may be set to return tomorrow after he missed Belgium’s world cup qualifier matches due to calf injury. Thibaut Courtois is doubtful as he suffered a hip injury in Belgium’s draw with Russia. Victor Moses, Diego Costa are also unfit and doubtful.
Crystal Palace will miss Patrick van Anholt with an ankle injury. Frazier Campbell and James Mcarthur are also suffering hamstring and back problems respectively. Chelsea loanee Loic Remy cannot face his parent club while Mathieu Flamini has recovered from a muscle injury and may feature in the starting XI tomorrow.
Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte: “I remember very well the last game against Crystal Palace. We deserved to win but we also suffered.
“They have a lot of great players – (Christian) Benteke is a top player, the same with (Wilfried) Zaha. (Andros) Townsend is another player I like a lot, (Yohan) Cabaye, (Jason) Puncheon, a lot of great players.
“If you ask me why they are in this position, I don’t know. It’s very strange. When you have this team with these great players it can happen, like with Chelsea last season.”
Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce: “Wilfried Zaha’s in a very, very good place, and that’s all I’m concerned about. Not ‘should it be England?’.
“It’s the Ivory Coast, it’s not going to change. He’s at Crystal Palace, playing particularly well for us, playing particularly well for the Ivory Coast, scoring goals as well as making them.
“So the international side has no relevance for me whatsoever.
“Zaha is improving his game, maturing in his game, because of his experience over the years, but also the experience he’ll gain at playing international football as well as playing for Palace.”
CHELSEA– Eden Hazard, Pedro and N’golo Kante
CRYSTAL PALACE– Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke and Andres Townsend
Head to Head
- Crystal Palace won in their last meeting wih Chelsea in August,2015 which is their only win against the Blues at Stamford Bridge.
- Last six of the seven meetings has been settled by one goal margin except Chelsea’s 3-0 win at Selhurst Park last year.
- The Blues have won 16 of their 17 home games in all competitions under Antonio Conte including last 13 home games successively.
- They could claim an 11th consecutive premier league victory and touch their record of longest winning run at home in top flight set in 2005-06 season.
- The Blues have kept only two clean sheets in their last 10matches i.e 10 shut-outs in last 12 league matches.
- Chelsea hold the record of using fewest players(21) and making fewest changes(26) to the first XI in premier league this season.
- Diego Costa will score his 50th goal in the competition if he manages to find the back of the net.
- Crystal Palace will register four consecutive wins without conceding a goal for the first time this season if they manages to win.
- They maintained this streak last time between March and April, 2015.
- They have lost all of the five derbies this season conceding eight goals and scoring none.
- Sam Allardyce has the chance to become the first manager to win against Chelsea with four different clubs.
- Benteke has scored just one goal in his last 13 league games. He has scored 8goals in 13 top-flight matches this season.
- Benteke scored in both home and away games against Chelsea for Liverpool last season.
- Wilfried Zaha has suffered the highest no of fouls(78) this season surpassing Chelsea pair Eden Hazard(75) and Diego Costa(68).