Friday, December 15, 2017

Prediction: Crystal Palace vs Chelsea

Verdict: Chelsea and over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 6/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

As another international break comes to an end, we can finally turn our attention back to the Premier League and two sides battling it out at different ends of the table. For the eighth game of the season, defending champions Chelsea will make the short journey across London to Selhurst Park, where they face a Crystal Palace side who are still looking for their first points of the season, and their first goal.

Crystal Palace

It really has been a traumatic start for anyone associated with Crystal Palace, already the bookies favourite to be relegated this season, the Eagles have lost all of their previous Premier League matchups and haven’t found the net once in their last seven outings.

For the time being, it doesn’t look like things will be getting much better. After sacking Frank de Boer last month, Palace have intrusted former England boss Roy Hodgson as the man to try and guide the south London club to Premier League safety. Before the international break, Hodgson’s side suffered a 4-0 hammering away to Manchester United taking their current record to 0 goals scored, 17 goals conceded.

Sadly for Palace, the news just keeps on getting worse. Coming off the international break, it looks like Palace are going to have to do battle with the defending champions minus some of their big-name players, Hodgson could be without six first team players come Saturday afternoon.

Team News

The thinnest of silver linings for Palace supporters, Wilfred Zaha has been training this week and after picking up an injury in Palace’s opening game of the season, their pacey winger could feature at some point.

There is more bad news tho, 21-year-old playmaker Ruben Loftus-Cheek is unable to play against his parent club as he is on loan from Stamford Bridge. Along with Loftus-Cheek, Palace’s only real goal threat Christian Benteke is still out with a knee ligament injury.

At the other end of the pitch, Wales and Palace’s number one shot-stopper Wayne Hennessey is rumoured to have picked up an injury while away on international duty, along with centre-half Scott Dann who is also a doubt.

Chelsea

Although the defending Premier League champions may sit fourth in the table, Antonio Conte’s side currently sits five points behind both United and City. Like Palace, the Blues are also coming off the back of a defeat, before the international break Chelsea suffered a 1-0 loss at the hands of Manchester City.

To be honest, Chelsea haven’t looked like the same side that dominated English football last season. Despite picking up important wins against the likes of Tottenham and Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, Chelsea have already dropped important points against the likes of Burnley and Arsenal.

Never the less, Antonio Conte’s side have been ruthless against the League’s lesser opponents and Chelsea will be looking to get back to winning ways when they travel to Selhurst Park tomorrow afternoon. All the signs point to a comfortable afternoon for the 2017 champions, in their last five Premier League appearances, Chelsea have managed to keep a clean sheet in three of them.

Team News

Chelsea will have to find a way to victory without their top scorer, six-goal Alvaro Morata is still sidelined with a hamstring injury. Along with Morata, midfielder N’Golo Kante will also be watching from the stands as the French international picked up a knock while away on international duty.

Defender David Luiz is still suspended, but, new signing Danny Drinkwater could feature for the first time following his deadline day move from Leicester.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Crystal Palace are yet to pick up a single point so far this season
  • Palace have conceded 17 goals so far this season, scoring 0 in reply
  • Out of their last 10 meetings, Chelsea have won 7 and only lost 3
  • Chelsea are yet to lose when away from home this year
  • The Blues have already scored 8 goals on the road this season

Conclusion

Even tho Chelsea will be without their number one striker Alvaro Morata, it looks like it is going to be another upsetting day for the Crystal Palace supporters. With a number of first-team players sidelined, the pace and creativity of Chelsea look likely to carry on their fine form away from home. Palace have conceded 10 in their last 3 Premier League outings, so goals should be in order, Chelsea and over 2.5 goals looks like a safe bet.

Verdict: Chelsea and over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 5/6

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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