Crystal Palace vs Chelsea – Match Preview
It is another London derby for the Blues this month as Chelsea make the short trip to Crystal Palace this Saturday.
On paper, this fixture is a heavy mismatch as Chelsea look very formidable and are expected to continue their run in the title challenge by seeing off the Eagles.
But in football, stranger things have happened and Chelsea wouldn’t want to take this game lightly especially after the recent away loss to Aston Villa that has somewhat hampered Chelsea’s recent form.
Team News and Current Form
The home side, Crystal Palace have a key player in their striker Maraoune Chamakh side-lined with a hamstring problem whereas their summer signing Dwight Gayle has also suffered an ankle injury in training.
Chelsea left back Ashley Cole may return to fitness but Samuel Eto’o is unlikely to start as he picked up a hamstring injury while playing against Arsenal.
Crystal Palace remain in a dangerous position in the table, just above the relegation zone with three points more than Sunderland while having played a game more than them. Crystal Palace haven’t won in their last five matches and their last minute loss to Newcastle summed up their recent form. So the Eagles registering a win against Chelsea would be one of the biggest shock results this season, even if they are playing at home.
The Stamford Bridge side have decent form on their side. With the loss against Aston Villa well behind them after their recent victory against Galatasaray and a 6-0 thumping of their fierce rivals Arsenal, Chelsea would look to finish off this game with a solid performance.
But this game can be a potential banana skin for the Blues as the last time the teams had met Chelsea had made heavy water of the match where they had finally managed to win 2-1 courtesy of some excellent saves from Petr Cech.
This match could be exciting enough as Tony Pulis focuses on defensive stability and Crystal Palace won’t be easy to break down. Chelsea have already lost some poor games against Stoke City, Aston Villa, Newcastle and Everton while drawing against West Brom, so nothing short of a win would be accepted by Jose Mourinho.
Players To Watch
Andre Schurrle: The German is in fine fettle and has a prolific goal-scoring record whenever he has started in the Premier League, with 7 goals in 10 starts. We can expect Schurrle to start the match as his finishing and direct attacking style of play would be useful to break down Crystal Palace.
Julian Speroni: The Blues midfielders are expected to dominate the possession and hence the chances will fall to the away team. Speroni would have to be in his best form to deny Chelsea easy goals.
Gary Cahill: Crystal Palace have a physically strong in Cameron Jerome and he would have to perform at his usual best to deny the forward any space or comfort, especially during set-piece situations.
Eden Hazard: The Belgian winger is having one hell of a season and is going to be the Blues’ talisman and Crystal Palace would have to be wary of him. Closing him down would be the key to thwarting Chelsea’s advances.
Mile Jedinak: The Eagles’ captain and arguably their best player would have to be at his best to cope up with the likes of Matic, Ramires and Oscar in the heart of the midfield. Possession is something what Crystal Palace would not be having at a premium, but Jedinak will be the key factor who will have to start counter attacks aiming to release the pace of Cameron Jerome up front.
Predicted Result: Crystal Palace 0- 2 Chelsea