Crystal Palace receive more bad news ahead of Chelsea clash

Crystal Palace will be without attacking trio Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha and Ruben Loftus-Cheek for the Chelsea clash.

The goal-shy Eagles are rock bottom after losing their opening seven league games.

Roy Hodgson’s men face the daunting task of trying to stop the rot against current Premier League champions Chelsea on October 14.

And it has become even harder with the absence of Benteke, Zaha and Loftus-Cheek.

Palace had hoped Zaha, who has been crocked with a knee injury since the opening day of the season, would recover in time to take on Cheslea. But the winger is struggling to prove his fitness.

Benteke was always going to miss the game with a knee problem, while Loftus-Cheek is unable to play against his parent club.

The trio’s unavailability will come as a huge blow to Hodgson, who has lost his first three league games since taking over from Frank de Boer last month.

Antonio Conte MUST start Michy Batshuayi in the Blues’ upcoming matches.

Chelsea are without star striker Alvaro Morata for at least a month due to a hamstring injury.

Batshuayi is the only other recognised forward in the Chelsea squad, with Diego Costa agreeing to rejoin Atletico Madrid in January.

However, when Morata was substituted in the first-half of the 1-0 loss to Manchester City on Saturday, Conte brought on midfielder Willian instead of the Belgian.

Robson says that was the wrong decision and says he must play a striker because they are a better side with one.

“He’s got to play,” Robson said on Batshuayi.

“Antonio Conte’s got to play him in the next few games.

“When he came on against Manchester City in that last 15 minutes, they had a focal point and they had Pedro and Willian playing because they took (Eden) Hazard off.

“They had Pedro and Willian playing behind him and they looked like a proper Chelsea team again.

“They are getting their wing-backs higher up the field, they got one or two crosses in.

“Until they had that main striker, they didn’t look like a side.”

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