A home win against Crystal Palace is all that stands between Chelsea and their fifth league title, as the Blues host 12th placed Palace on Sunday. A win would mathematically seal the title for Chelsea, in what would be the third Premier League title under Jose Mourinho.
TEAM NEWS, INJURY UPDATES AND SUSPENSIONS
Jose Mourinho may take a late decision on striker Diego Costa, but Loic Remy is probably out. About Costa, Mourinho said:
“He has a chance, but we don’t need to risk it. Diego Costa and Remy trained [on Tuesday] with the team, they trained hard [yesterday] without us. When you can protect, you protect.”- Source: Daily Star
Mourinho says Diego Costa has a chance to play on Sunday; he hasn't featured of late because it hasn't been worth the risk. #CFC
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 29, 2015
Costa and Remy, even if available for selection somehow, are not expected to play the full 90 minutes. The rest of the team are fully fit, and available for selection although Oscar may be rested, given the concussion he suffered against Arsenal. Courtois is fit to play.
Marouane Chamakh is out with a hamstring injury while Jerome Thomas remains a long-term absentee. Defender Joel Ward and striker Fraizer Campbell are expected to return to the squad on Sunday.
Chelsea will start with the typical 4-2-3-1 formation, with Drogba leading the line while Fabregas, Hazard, and Willian will play behind him. Ramires, who scored a beauty against Leicester, is expected to partner Matic in central midfield. The usual back four of Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry and Azpilicueta will serve as the defensive line. Courtois, who picked up an injury against Arsenal, is fit for selection and will man the posts.
Crystal Palace, under Alan Pardew, have been lining up with a 4-3-3 formation, and this time it will be no different. Striker Glen Murray will be flanked by Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie. Jason Puncheon will start as an attacking midfielder, supported by James McArthur and Mile Jedinak. Martin Kelly, Scott Dann, Damien Delany and Pape Souare will make up the back four. Julian Speroni will be the keeper as usual.
KEY PLAYER BATTLES
Zaha vs. Azpilicueta
22-year-old Zaha, known for his pace and power, will be up against the full back who is the best in the league in one-on-one situations. It seems like Dave will have his work cut out for Sunday.
Puncheon, McArthur, Jedinak vs. Matic
Jason Puncheon, who plays just behind the striker, is expected to have a tough time coming up against the spider. Matic, who has been a real force in the centre of the pitch for Chelsea this season, is expected to cause problems for Puncheon and his midfield associates.
Kelly vs. Hazard
Martin Kelly will have the toughest time of the season yet when PFA Player of the Year plies his trade at Stamford Bridge. Kelly, the young right back, may just have a nightmare-come-true for the entire 90 minutes on Sunday.
Alan Pardew has won 4 out of his last 6 encounters against Chelsea in the Premier League. Jose Mourinho has lost just one of the 95 matches at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea manager.
LAST 5 PREMIER LEAGUE MEETINGS
Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea 18/10/2014
Crystal Palace 1-0 Chelsea 29/03/2014
Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace 14/12/2013
Chelsea 4-1 Crystal Palace 19/03/2005
Crystal Palace 0-2 Chelsea 24/08/2004
PREDICTED STARTING LINE UPS
Chelsea: Courtois (GK), Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (C), Azpilicueta, Matic, Ramires, Hazard, Fabregas, Willian, Drogba,
Crystal Palace: Speroni (GK), Kelly, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Jedinak (C), McArthur, Puncheon, Zaha, Bolasie, Murray,
Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace
Time: 1230 GMT / 1800 IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Referee: Kevin Friend
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Edited By: Vikram