Date: Saturday 17th December, 2017
Venue: Selhurst Park
Kick-off: 12:30 GMT
Today’s early kick off sees us take the short trip to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace and whilst we’re riding on confidence with ten straight wins, Palace aren’t doing quite so well. This time last season it was us struggling in 16th and Palace sitting 6th in the table but with one win in ten, Crystal Palace are taking up 16th spot coming into the game.
Our last couple of games have been about patience, focus and even a bit of digging in to get the result. Neither were blessed with an abundance of goals and you’d have to suspect this could be another one of those games. Not that we’ll necessarily walk away with 3 points on this occasion, because with Christian Benteke’s record against us, the 1-all predictions might not be far off the mark.
Going into today’s game, Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew says, “The manager’s done a great job but the world-class players are at the top of their game. And the best thing he’s done is not the system: he’s man-managed those people to perform better. He’s got to grips with the toughness of the Premier League, and the physicality of it. He inherited players that were used to it, and he’s been helped by that. [But] he’s still done a fabulous job, the system suits them, and at the moment they look unbeatable. The best we can do is to make sure we give them a game which makes it as difficult as possible and hopefully get ourselves a result. It is possible.”
Chelsea boss coach Antonio Conte meanwhile, says “it’s not easy to play three games in six days. We played Sunderland on Wednesday, came back at 4am and only had one day to prepare for the game.” Whilst on Eden Hazard, he says “The situation is normal because before with Eden the way we played, a lot of games and we played very well. A player can have an injury, I hope a substitute can play very well. I involve my players in every game. It’s important to have the possibility to choose in an emergency. Up to now we were lucky because we didn’t have a lot of injuries.”
For Crystal Palace, James Tomkins, Connor Wickham, Bakary Sako, Loic Remy, Pape Souare, Steve Mandanda and Mathieu Flamini are all out. Jason Puncheon returns after a ban.
For Chelsea, John Terry remains out injured. Eden Hazard is available although may be rested again.
CRYSTAL PALACE (Possible line-up): Hennessey; Kelly, Dann, Delaney, Ward; McArthur, Ledley; Zaha, Puncheon, Townsend; Benteke
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois; Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Costa, Hazard
Crystal Palace 0-3 Chelsea (3rd January 2016)
CRYSTAL PALACE: LDWLL
~ Chelsea have won five of their last six Premier League games away to Crystal Palace
~ Palace have had one home league win against Chelsea since 1990 (1-0, March 2014)
~ Palace are without a win in eight Premier League London derbies
~ Palace’s last London derby win was at Chelsea in August 2015
~ Palace have kept just one clean sheet in their last 21 top-flight games.
~ An 11th consecutive win for Chelsea would equal the club’s top-flight record
~ A win would see Chelsea become the third team to win 500 Premier League games
~ Chelsea have lost just one of their last eight Premier League London derbies