This weekend sees two of the London sides meet at Selhurst Park, as Chelsea travel across the capital. After seven matches, the table is starting to shape up nicely and as many predicted, Chelsea look to be favourites, after already establishing a five point lead over the champions. Meanwhile Crystal Palace are propping themselves up nicely above the relegation zone, with survival being the key, especially after the exit of Tony Pulis just days before the season began. Neil Warnock has come in and started well, but his record in the top flight isn’t great, and Palace fans will be aware of that.
Crystal Palace will be keen to quickly move on from the defeat against Hull City which was their first league defeat under Warnock in his second spell. They would have wanted to take the unbeaten record into the international break, especially with the impressive Chelsea next to come, as they will need to be playing with confidence if they are to have any chance against them. The atmosphere will be incredible at Selhurst Park as always, making it a daunting place for Chelsea to go.
The leaders have started the season in red hot form, mainly due to the signings of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa, who have lifted the side to the next level and they now look capable of challenging in the league and in Europe. Jose Mourinho was criticised for his first season back at Stamford Bridge, but he has laid the foundations for a very exciting team at Chelsea, which looks like it will go on to do great things this year. Their win over Arsenal showed that they are still a long way ahead of the ‘challengers’ in the league. Only Manchester City offer any sort of a threat to Chelsea.
In the same fixture last season, the home side triumphed, leaving Chelsea’s title hopes hanging by a thread as a John Terry own goal saw Palace take the points. While at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea won the match 2-1, with Fernando Torres and Ramires scoring, Marouane Chamakh netted for Palace.
Crystal Palace have looked better going forward under Warnock scoring eight goals in their last five games. This highlights that he has introduced more attacking play with the likes of Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha getting freedom.
Chelsea have scored the most goals in the Premier League this season with 21, which is seven more than the next side in Manchester City, showing Chelsea have added goals to the side this year, the main thing they were missing last campaign
Mile Jedinak has spoken about getting another victory over Chelsea this weekend and if they are to win again, they will need their Australian midfielder to have a good game, as Chelsea have been incredible offensively this year. The movement of their attacking players and the passing range of Fabregas will make it a difficult afternoon for the Palace defence, but the influence and abilities of Jedinak in front of the back four could thwart Chelsea. His aerial abilities will also be crucial as Chelsea are known to be dangerous from set pieces, and Jedinak wins a lot of balls in the air, while Palace’s best opportunities will come from set pieces at the other end, which could bring his offensive abilities into play. He has already scored twice this year, showing his growing influence in the attacking half. He will be key this weekend as he is brilliant at making interceptions and winning back possession, which could lay the platform for the pace of Bolasie, Zaha and Dwight Gayle on the counter.
The Belgian has come out this week and said he isn’t in the top five players in the world, but he is getting closer, and if he continues the form he has showed early this season, he could break into that by the end of the campaign. He has said he needs to be more consistent and make an impact in every match, with this weekend providing the perfect opportunity for Hazard to become more influential. It’s without doubt that Hazard has been more effective at Stamford Bridge, he needs to become more effective away from home and he has the platform to become the main player of this Chelsea side, providing the creativity and flair to the front line. His incredible dribbling skills and skillful feet make him horrible to defend against and the Palace defenders will have to be on their guard as the winger has won a lot of penalties over the past couple of seasons.
Adrian Marriapa is a doubt for Palace this weekend with a knock, while Stuart O’Keefe and Scott Dann are likely to be missing for a few more weeks yet. It is unknown whether Warnock will be more defensive, or if he will start two forwards in Frazier Campbell and Dwight Gayle, while Wilfried Zaha and Marouane Chamakh will be pushing for a recall to the starting eleven.
Andre Schurrle is a doubt after getting an illness while away with Germany, but Willan and Mo Salah will be able deputies, while Didier Drogba and Ramires are both doubts. Kurt Zouma is likely to be unavailable. Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas will both start, after both have started their Chelsea careers in great form.
Cesc Fabregas has seven assists to his name already showing his incredible eye for a pass from midfield, and if you think he will get another one this weekend, you can get odds of 3.38 from TailorBet.
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Crystal Palace will be a hard team to beat at Selhurst Park with the fans providing a great atmosphere, and a quick start will put Chelsea under pressure. It will be the perfect time to play them after the international break as Chelsea will need a bit of time to get back into Premier League mode, while Warnock will make sure his side is battling for every ball. The pace on the counter attack could play a role, considering Chelsea don’t have lots of pace in their defence. Chelsea still have a lot of quality, and have been very clinical in front of goal this season, it’s difficult to see them dropping points here.
Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea