Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew admits Chelsea look “unbeatable” and says their players look a different prospect from last season, nearly a year to the day since Jose Mourinho was sacked.
The Stamford Bridge side have thrived under Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 formation and are six points clear at the top of the Premier League ahead of their visit to Selhurst Park this weekend, live on Sky Sports 1 HD, where they are looking for their 11th straight win in the league.
Their league position is in stark contrast to this time last year when Chelsea were 16th, just one point above the relegation places. Their visit to Palace on Saturday will come a year to the day since Mourinho left Stamford Bridge for the second time.
Pardew has praised Conte’s system and his man-management style but says it is just as important that their “world-class” players are performing.
“It’s a system he knows very well; he’s coached that system so he’s got it pretty nailed down,” Pardew said of the former Juventus and Italy manager. “But they’ve still got world-class players.
“Don’t think it’s about this, or that. 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.
“[Eden] Hazard and [Diego] Costa are a different proposition this year, and they’ll be the first to admit that, [Cesc] Fabregas too.
“Coming from Serie A it’s a different type of football and 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.”
While Chelsea are looking to tighten their grip on top spot, Palace have managed only one victory in their last 10 matches.