Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 4/5
Seeking a much-needed boost this weekend, Chelsea will welcome London rivals Crystal Palace to an empty Stamford Bridge on Saturday lunchtime.
Starting with the hosts, while Chelsea might have really splashed the cash this summer and added a string of new faces to their squad, the Blues have struggled to lay down an early marker this time around. Throwing away the lead late on earlier in the week against a heavily-altered Tottenham squad in North London on Tuesday night, Frank Lampard’s side came crashing out of the EFL Cup thanks to a penalties defeat at the hands of their crosstown rivals. Although the former England midfielder might have been glad to see new arrival Timo Werner open his account in midweek, the former Premier League champions are still dealing with a string of glaring issues at the back. While Saturday’s hosts might have managed to salvage what appeared to be an extremely unlikely point on their travels last weekend, it does not cover what was another concerning display. Making a string of costly mistakes, Chelsea entered the interval on the wrong end of a shock 3-0 scoreline against top-flight returners West Brom at the Hawthorns seven days ago. Also hit with a 2-0 defeat at home against defending champions Liverpool a fortnight ago, the Blues have managed to win just one of their last four matchups across all competitions.
Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and left-back Ben Chilwell could make their league debuts for Chelsea after starting the EFL Cup game at Tottenham.
As for the visitors, watching Everton end their 100% start amidst more VAR controversy last weekend, Head Coach Roy Hodgson made his feelings on the new handball rule very clear. However, although the one-time England boss might have seen his side fail to make it three in three at Selhurst Park last time out, the Eagles should take away plenty of positives after an eye-catching start to the 2020/2021 campaign. Along with opening the New Year with a 1-0 win against Southampton, Palace really shocked many with what quickly turned into a romp at Old Trafford a fortnight ago. Watching attacking talisman Wilfried Zaha bag a brace and make it three Premier League strikes in as many appearances this season, the South London outfit landed a very impressive 3-1 win on the road and they appear to have made a string of improvements over the summer. Although Hodgson’s men might travel across London confident of causing another upset this weekend, it should be noted that they do hold a worrying record against the former champions. Including a dramatic 3-2 defeat when the two sides faced off back in July, Palace have lost each of their last five straight meetings against Saturday’s hosts.
Jeffrey Schlupp misses a second consecutive game with a muscle strain.
Gary Cahill, James Tomkins and Patrick van Aanholt are back in training following lay-offs but are not yet ready to feature.
Key Factors to Consider
- Including a 3-2 win when the two sides faced off back in July, Chelsea have now won each of their last five straight meetings against Saturday’s guests.
- However, continuing on from last season, Chelsea have managed to record just a pair of clean sheets in any of their last eight Premier League appearances.
- Wilfried Zaha has recorded three Premier League goals in as many appearances so far this season.
- Crystal Palace’s 3-1 win away at Old Trafford a fortnight ago brought an end to a run of four straight Premier League defeats away from Selhurst Park.
- Four of the last five meetings between Chelsea and Palace at Stamford Bridge have seen both teams find the net by the final whistle.
While on paper Saturday’s hosts might be seen as a landslide pick with the bookmakers, Chelsea have only continued to show some rather glaring issues at the back. Throwing away the lead and crashing out of the EFL Cup at the hands of Spurs in midweek, Frank Lampard’s side also had to shockingly come from 3-0 down to salvage a point away at Premier League returners West Brom last weekend. On the flip side, although Crystal Palace might have seen Everton end their 100% start in South London last time out, Roy Hodgson’s side shocked almost everyone with their rampant display at Old Trafford a fortnight ago. Quietly confident of causing an upset and with four of the last five meetings between the two sides seeing both teams find the net, we’re backing a similar outcome this weekend.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 4/5
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