A return to Premier League action!
Chelsea sit 3rd in the table with a game in hand as they take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Palace 13th in the table with a game in hand and have drawn three and lost two of their games. Palace have had a decent first season under Vieira playing some exciting attacking football with young players. Chelsea won the reverse fixture 3-0 at Stamford Bridge and will be hoping to do the same in this game.
It’s been more than 20 days since Chelsea played Tottenham in their last Premier League game. Since then there has been an international break and Chelsea have been crowned World Champions. The time away from the Premier League sees Chelsea sitting 16 points behind Manchester City with a game in hand. Chelsea are also seven points behind Liverpool and only four points ahead of Manchester United. In the pre match conference Tuchel said that the main aim for right now is to build their gap from 4th and then reassess at the end of the season. Chelsea will not want to get dragged back into a top four race and there is still a slight small chance that they can cut the gap to the top albeit not win the league. The essential goal still remains to finish in the top three and within single digits of whoever wins.
Chelsea Team Preview
Chelsea are still without Reece James, and Ben Chilwell. James should return to training next week. Mason Mount is also out with an ankle injury but Chelsea are hoping he is back next week. Mendy should start in goal with a back four of Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Silva, and Sarr. Kovacic, and Jorginho should start in midfield with Pulisic, and Ziyech as the wingers and Havertz and Lukaku up top. Chelsea coud play with a back three as well but I think the back four is bringing out the best in players like Ziyech at the moment. Pulisic deserves a run as a winger as well while Havertz and Lukaku have shown that they can build some sort of partnership up front. Regardless Chelsea should have a strong XI on the pitch and strong subs on the bench. Ruben is also back for this game.
Crystal Palace Team Preview
Palace will be without Gallagher who cannot play against parent club Chelsea. Gallagher has been a big player for Palace and is already lined up to make an impact at Chelsea next season. Guehi has done well at centre back for Palace and is a mainstay for them. Guaita should start in goal with a back four of Mitchell, Guehi, Andersen, and Ward. Schlupp, Hughes, and McArthur should start in midfield. Zaha, Edouard, and Ayew should start up front for Palace. Players like Olise, and Eze can provide plenty of threat with their pace and creativity of the bench or if they start. Benteke, and Mateta are also available. It’s a good team with plenty of pace and there is always a threat.
Starting XI Prediction
Chelsea return to the bread and butter on Saturday. The problems for Chelsea remain that the players are not clinical enough but hopefully the Club World Cup win is the boost they need. Lukaku scored two and maybe it can spur him on. Chelsea will have to be clinical and tight at the back. COME ON CHELSEA!!!