Whoever called April “the cruelest month of the season” might just have to change his opinion after watching the Blues destroy teams throughout the month.
With an impressive haul of 13 points from a possible 15, the Blues are one win away from earning the title of “English Champions”. On Wednesday night, the Blues proved why they are champion material after coming from behind to win a tough match. Goals from Drogba, Terry, and Ramires in the second half brought an in-form Leicester City to their knees, leaving Chelsea 13 points clear of their nearest rivals Manchester City.
This Sunday, Jose Mourinho will go head to head with Alan Pardew as Chelsea host Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge in a London Derby. The former Newcastle manager has been a great success at Crystal Palace, getting them out of the relegation zone and drastically improving the team’s performance in the second half of this season. The Eagles are placed 12th with 42 points and have been guaranteed a safe spot on the Premier League table.
Let us analyze our opponents in our opposition scouting report:
Based in South Norwood, London, Palace was founded in 1905 at the site of the famous Crystal Palace exhibition building. The club became one of the founding members of the Premier League in 1992 but were relegated the same season, despite achieving 49 points which is still a Premier League record for a relegated club. The club then achieved promotion back to the Premier League three times in 1994, 1997 and 2004 but suffered relegation at the end of each season. Palace were promoted back to the Premier League after a win against Watford in the Football League play-offs in 2013 and retained their place the following year.
The Eagles have had a sudden dip in form after heading out of the relegation zone. Pardew has had back to back defeats at home against West Brom and Hull City, but their away form has been magnificent. The Eagles have a W5 D2 L1 record over their last eight games away from home. Placed 12th on the table, the Eagles will hope to finish in the top half of the table. Evidently, it’s bound to be difficult securing 3 points against a Chelsea side that has had a great run of results recently.
Last five games (Premier League) – W-W-W-L-L
Alan Pardew has plenty of injury concerns to wrap his head around. Jerome Thomas, Marouane Chamakh and Fraizer Campbell will be missing out on their trip to Stamford Bridge with their star defender Joel Ward doubtful to start this Sunday due to a shin problem. Despite his side losing to Hull, Pardew might be tempted to play an unchanged 11 against Chelsea.
Alan Pardew have send warning to Chelsea ahead of crucial game through official Crystal Palace’s twitter:
The Manager will opt for his successful 4-3-3 formation against the Blues. Speroni will be guarding the post, Dann and Delaney will play as centre-backs with Souare on the right and Kelly in the left-back positions. The midfield trio of Puncheon, Jedinak and McArthur will try and dominate the midfield with Murray leading alongside Zaha and Bolasie.
Crystal Palace have an extremely physical style of play. The Eagles have committed more fouls (462) than any other team in the Premier League. They are great at winning aerial duels and can be destructive on their day.
Strength – Key Player
Mile Jedinak: An energetic player determined to win individual battles is the best way to describe Mile Jedinak. Jedinak plays at the heart of midfield doing what he does best, derailing attacks throughout the 90minutes. The Palace captain averages the most interceptions per game of any player this season at 3.7. Renowned for tackling and winning aerial duels, Jedinak proves to be a menace for oppositions. With 5 goals and 3 assists, the 30-year-old is an indirect set-piece threat and loves to play long balls. Nemanja Matic will be put to the test marking the Australian and the physical battle between the two is bound to spark up some controversy.
Joel Ward’s injury has left a big hole in the Palace defense. They missed him during their last game against Hull City when N’Doye ripped apart the Palace defense scoring two goals. Ward has the rare ability to play at left-back as well as right, Palace miss out his tackling skills and constant ball interceptions, keeping top quality wingers quite throughout the game. The manager earlier said he needs Joel Ward to be fit for Sunday’s derby to bolster his weak Palace defense.
“We’re fingers crossed for Chelsea for Joel, because he’s an important player for us who has had a great season, and he was a loss to us (on Saturday) for sure,” – Source – football365
Head to Head
The two London sides have faced each other on 26 occasions with Chelsea winning 14 of them and the Eagles with 3 matches. They have shared points on 9 separate occasions.
– Crystal Palace have recovered more points from losing positions than any other team in the Premier League this season (18).
– Chelsea have scored 198 goals in Premier League London derbies at Stamford Bridge.
– Jose Mourinho has coached Chelsea in 95 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge, losing just one (W74 D20 L1).
Stamford Bridge has yet again been a fortress under Jose Mourinho, having won 13 of their 16 matches played at home this season. Alan Pardew has won four of his last six Premier League matches as an opposition coach against Chelsea and was the man to derail Chelsea’s unbeaten run at Newcastle. Jose Mourinho has urged the fans not to celebrate until the final whistle, but to get behind the team throughout the 90 minutes.
The Champagne will be put on ice as the Blues look to seal their fifth Premier League title or will Alan Pardew prove to be a party pooper once again?
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni