CHELSEA v Crystal Palace: Preview

Date: Saturday 1st April, 2017
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 15:00 BST

After a pretty bland international break, it’s back to the business of the Premier League today and this afternoon’s home game against Crystal Palace.
Sorted you might think, since we’ve only lost once against them in the top-flight, and yet something tells me not to count my chickens just yet. Quite apart from the form of Zaha and the fact that Benteke isn’t shy of a goal against us, it’s also worth remembering Sam Allardyce has had wins against us with 3 different clubs so far.
Palace have managed a few shut outs lately as well, so we’ll need the ‘doubts’ from the break to get their minds and bodies together if we’re going to get the job done this afternoon.

MANAGER’S VIEWS
Going into today’s game, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says “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 meanwhile, says “It’s going to be a difficult task, but not impossible. If we get a chance we have to take it. It’s a game for us to try to get a point in – or three.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Chelsea, Eden Hazard (calf) is available, whilst Thibaut Courtois (hip), Diego Costa (foot) and Victor Moses are all doubts.
For Crystal Palace, Patrick van Aanholt (ankle) is injured, Fraizer Campbell (hamstring) and James McArthur (back) are doubts and Loic Remy is ineligible to play against us. Mathieu Flamini could be back in contention.

TEAMS
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz; Willian, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Hazard, Costa, Pedro
CRYSTAL PALACE (Possible line-up): Hennessey; Ward, Tomkins, Sakho, Schlupp; Cabaye, Milivojevic; Zaha, Puncheon, Townsend; Benteke

LAST SEASON
Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace (29th August 2015)

RECENT FORM (PL)
CHELSEA: WWWWD
CRYSTAL PALACE: WWWLL

OTHER STUFF
~ Crystal Palace won on their last trip to Chelsea, in August 2015
~ Crystal Palace have only beaten Chelsea once in the top-flight
~ With the exception of last season’s 3-0 win, 6 of the last 7 meetings have been settled by single-goal margins
~ Chelsea have won 16 of their 17 home games under Antonio Conte in all competitions, including the last 13.
~ Chelsea could claim an 11th consecutive Premier League win at Stamford Bridge – which equals our longest run at home in the top flight (2005-06)
~ Chelsea have kept just two clean sheets in their last 10 league games
~ Crystal Palace could win four consecutive games without conceding a single goal for the first time in the Premier League.
~ Crystal Palace have lost all five of their Premier League London derbies this season, conceding eight goals and scoring none.
~ They last time they claimed four straight wins in the top flight (regardless of goals conceded) was between March and April 2015.

PREDICTION
BBC Sport: Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace
Sky Sports: Chelsea 3-0 Crystal Palace
Sportslens: Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace

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