Date: Saturday 3rd October 2020
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 12:30 BST
We’re a bit like Boris’ broadcasts so far this season, you want a glimmer of hope but have to search for the silver lining between the clouds.
It’s early days though. Unlike Boris’ appearances, it’s not like we’ve had to sit through six months plus of indecision and chaos, we haven’t even had time to lay the foundations of this side yet. Frank Lampard might be feeling a bit like the Prime Minister right now though, because despite finding himself in completely unfamiliar circumstances (new players, short pre-season, injuries) he’s expected to pull everything together perfectly, without error, or face the public wrath – or at the very least the impatient supporters and media critics.
Roy Hodgson, in comparison, appears to have no such sweat on his brow, with a pretty good start to the campaign. Wins against Southampton and Manchester United and a narrow defeat to a strong Everton side is nothing to be sniffed at to start a season.
Palace can be a tough side to break down and Zaha is unlikely to shy away from testing our porous defence, so like most of Boris’ broadcasts, I have no idea what to expect from this today.
Going into today’s game, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, says “We’ve gone and won at Brighton, which was a tough game. Then we lost to the champions with 10 men for 45 minutes, when it was nil-nil. Then at West Brom the first 30 minutes three clear mistakes make goals. Normally you lose those games but we’ve managed to get a point. So I think there’s certainly some clear perspective that needs to go into our first three games.
But of course we want to win the game against Palace, because we want to win games, we want to find that feeling of win and win and win, which we’re absolutely capable of with this team. But we’re absolutely very early on in the season, as a group, with players that are now coming fit, and new signings that will be getting more settled every day that we train together and improve together. So I’m not concerned. We will attack the game with confidence and a real desire to win, and that’s what we should do with every game.”
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson, meanwhile, says “I think three games is too early to assess any team. It’s when things settle down you can make judgements, but I’m aware of how much quality they have in their team and their squad as well.” Whilst on Lampard, he says “I think he’s been excellent, shown tremendous composure and maturity. He’s not afraid to spend money where available, his start in management has been really good but I’m not surprised. It doesn’t surprise me one bit – the same with Steven Gerrard – that they’re making a success of their start in management.”
For Chelsea, Billy Gilmour and Hakim Ziyech remain out through injury. Timo Werner suffered cramp at the end of the midweek game but should be available. Antonio Rudiger and Marcos Alonso are again unlikely to be selected but Edouard Mendy and Ben Chilwell could make their league debuts. Christian Pulisic makes a return but is likely to remain on the bench unless we’re up a creek and in dire need of a paddle.
For Crystal Palace, Jeffrey Schlupp, Gary Cahill, James Tomkins and Patrick van Aanholt are all out and Michy Batshuayi, is ineligible to play.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; James, Zouma, Thiago Silva, Chilwell; Kovacic, Kante, Mount; Havertz, Werner, Abraham
CRYSTAL PALACE (Possible line-up): Guaita; Ward, Sakho, Kouyate, Mitchell; Townsend, McCarthy, McArthur, Eze; Zaha, Ayew.
Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace (9th November 2019)
CURRENT FORM (PL)
CRYSTAL PALACE: WWL
- Chelsea have won the last five games against Crystal Palace.
- The last time Palace beat Chelsea was October 2017.
- Palace have won just two of their 11 top-flight away games against Chelsea.
- Chelsea have not lost their opening two home league matches in a season since the 1978-79 campaign.
- Crystal Palace are looking to win their first two away matches in a Premier League season for the third time.
- Chelsea have conceded at least three goals in four of their past 10 league games.
- Chelsea have ended the last two seasons with the best record in Premier League London derbies.
- Crystal Palace have won eight Premier League fixtures away to sides from the established top six since August 2015, including two at Chelsea.
BBC Sport: Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace
Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace
90min: Chelsea 2-2 Crystal Palace
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