Crystal Palace v CHELSEA: Preview

Venue: Selhurst Park
Date: Sunday, 3 January
Kick-off: 13:30 GMT

Our first game of the new year sees us take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in the early kick-off.
Last time out against Manchester United was absolute torture to watch and in all honesty United could, and probably should, have been out of sight by half-time. The jury is still out on whether us coming out of the game with a point was more by luck than judgement.
For Palace, it’s been two successive goalless draws, with them lacking a clinical finish up front but not lacking any presence at the back.
Despite Chelsea’s decent record against Palace, with nine wins against them in the Premier League, we’ve lost 2 of the last 4 meetings so we’re going to have to hope the players have resolved to kick-off our season in 2016.

MANAGER’S VIEWS
Ahead of today’s early kick-off, Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew says “The results suggest my first year has gone well. I’ve bonded with the chairman and we have a fanbase second to none. We’ve had an unbelievable year but you can’t stand still in the Premier League. I’d like a striker in the window. With the bodies we have available I’m confident but Chelsea looked more assured against Man Utd so they’re favourites”.
Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink meanwhile, says “We had two tough games against Watford and Manchester United. The physical intensity was high in both games, but we didn’t have big damage. Oscar was a bit hurt after a challenge. Willian got some tackles, so did Eden. There was intensity in these games, but they have been recovering so they are okay.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Crystal Palace, Yannick Bolasie, Bakary Sako, Dwight Gayle and Connor Wickham are injured, Yohan Cabaye is missing through suspension, whilst Patrick Bamford has ended his loan spell at the club.
For Chelsea, Radamel Falcao (thigh) again misses out through injury, Gary Cahill (ankle) and Loic Remy (calf) are doubtful, whilst Diego Costa returns from suspension and Cesc Fabregas should be available again having missed the game against United through illness.

TEAMS
CRYSTAL PALACE (Possible line-up): Hennessy, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Jedinak, McArthur, Zaha, Ledley, Puncheon, Chamakh
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois, Ivanovic, JT, Zouma, Azpilicueta, Matic, Fabregas, Pedro, Willian, Hazard, Costa.

LAST SEASON
Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea (18th October 2014)

CURRENT FORM
Crystal Palace: WDWWDD
Chelsea: DLLWDD

OTHER STUFF
~ A win for Palace would be their first ever league double over us
~ Chelsea have lost two of their last four games against Palace
~ Chelsea have beaten Palace nine times in the Premier League
~ Palace have 31 points from their opening 19 games
~ Palace have never won their first Premier League game of a new year
~ Palace have lost four of their last five London derbies in the league, the exception being against Chelsea
~ Chelsea are winless in their last seven Premier League away games
~ Chelsea have taken just 6 points on their travels this season
~ Chelsea are 26 points down on this stage of last season

PREDICTION
Palace have a tight defence whilst we unfortunately have a tighter attack, bore draw if we’re lucky.

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