Chelsea Vs Crystal Palace: Preview

Chelsea Vs Crystal Palace: Preview

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The last game of Chelsea’s first half First League Campaign brings Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge on Sunday at 14:00 for the opener.

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This second consecutive London derby for the men’s side and third overall in four days with Chelsea Women, who played at Arsenal on Sunday, comes after the game at nearest neighbor Fulham, a defeat and further additions to Graham Potter’s unavailability list had brought.

Work hard, stay focused, stick together was the manager’s message after the setbacks at Fulham and the fans can do a lot to help with that this weekend.

Despite recent struggles, the Blues have yet to concede a goal at bridge in the first hour of a league game this season and are the only club in the competition to keep a clean sheet at home in every first half. Only Manchester United (four) and Newcastle (five) have conceded fewer league goals on home soil this season than Chelsea (seven).

The Blues have also won their last 10 straight league games with Crystal Palace. Only against Sunderland (11) and West Bromwich (12) in our league history have we had longer winning streaks.

Chelsea are in dire need of a morale boost after suffering their seventh defeat in ten games in all competitions and further cuts in injuries and suspensions.

Joao Felix became the 12th player to make his debut for the Blues this season and brought a breath of fresh air ahead of the tackle that resulted in a red card and a three-game ban. Joao will serve out his suspension at Liverpool this weekend and at home against Fulham in early February.

What’s more, Denis Zakaria, something of a revelation in midfield since his debut as a goalscorer in November, seems to have an injury that will sideline him for some time.

The packed treatment room is one of the reasons the Blues have already used more players this Premier League season (27) than all of last season (26). Potter has more changes to make on Sunday.

Costly defensive mistakes in recent games could see him turning to Benoit Badiashile, a left-footed centre-back who excelled Monaco. Joao Felix’s enforced absence may pave the way for another January signing, 20-year-old Ivorian striker David Fofana, who has scored 15 goals in 19 starts for Molde Norway.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who replaced Zakaria in that first game in Zagreb, could be the first of the long-term injuries to return this weekend. If not, Carney Chukwuemeka, strong and assertive at Fulham, could start against the Eagles’ muscular midfield.

Playing at Stamford Bridge also fills us with optimism. Outside the top six sides, Chelsea have only lost twice at home in the Premier League since December 2019 (to West Bromwich in April 2021 and Brentford in the same month a year later).

Crystal Palace’s latest record this calendar month will not boost the 12th-placed club’s confidence. They have won just two of their last 15 Premier League games in the first 31 days of the year and haven’t won any of their last 10 London derbies in January.

Palace head coach Patrick Viira He usually sets his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation at home and 4-3-3 away, meaning the Blues’ scrimmage will likely be Wilfried Zaha as a flowing centre-forward who will be flanked by Jordan Ayew and Eberechi Eze.

With James MacArthur injured, their midfield should consist of the hard-working, aggressive trio of Cheick Doucoure, Michael Olise and Jeffrey Schlupp. Nathaniel Clyne, Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi, a product of Chelsea Academy, form the regular back four protecting goalkeeper Vincent Guaita. Tyrick Mitchell has served his suspension and is likely to step in for Joel Ward at left-back.

Early parts of Palace’s 4-0 home loss to Spurs last time out showed they have the creativity to create opens but can’t quite design the finishing touches. Only four top-flight clubs have fired fewer shots than Vieira’s men, who have scored fewer goals than all but five of their rivals. However, their defensive record is clearly in midfield – better than Tottenham or Wolves. As with Chelsea, however, individual mistakes in defense often benefit the opponent.

The Eagles’ away record shows a large disparity between goals scored and goals conceded in the two halves. Six of their seven goals (86 percent) came in the first 45 minutes, but eight of their opponents’ ten goals (80 percent) came after the break.

Fans attending the game at Stamford Bridge will have an opportunity to show their appreciation for the life and contribution of 1990s striker and player-coach Gianluca Vialli, who passed away last week.

Before kick-off, a minute’s applause will be led by the Italian’s former Chelsea team-mates in ‘Vialli 9’ shirts and there will be fan-led banners in the Shed End and Matthew Harding Stand. Visitors can also enter their tributes in a book of condolences, which is open in the museum at the north end of the stadium grounds. An online version is also open

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust is taking donations on behalf of the Hammersmith and Fulham Foodbank ahead of Sunday’s game. The collection point is outside the gates of the Oswald Stoll Foundation on Fulham Road between Fulham Broadway and the Britannia entrance to the stadium from approximately 11:15am.

The Tafel helps local people in crisis situations and always needs durable food, beverages and hygiene items.


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