|Wilfred Zaha is available against Chelsea but Mason Mount isn't, it will be a game of tiny margins at Selhurst Park on Saturday. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
Crystal Palace vs ChelseaSelhurst Park4:00pm
Chelsea are back after their Club World Cup triumph, feels good to have them back in the league and their trip to Selhurst Park should be the beginning of a serious title challenge – if they believe they have a chance or a top four fight considering the energy behind them.
Patrick Vieira already has a strong influence on the Crystal Palace team but the first time he Played Chelsea as a premier league manager just three games into the league season, it didn’t go as planned as his team was whipped 3-0.
It’s been on and off since then but you can argue that the Eagles deserve more than what they currently have, it’s a lot of work to be done on the kids but his philosophy is quite clear, he wants to compete and challenge, that’s encouraging.
Chelsea labored hard in the Club World Cup and would hope the winning feeling rubs off on their league return, their performance at the tourney wasn’t amazing but you get rewarded for wins at the end of the day, Palace would be hopeful.
The Blues are without Reece James who suffered a slight setback in recovery while Ben Chilwell is notably out for the resto of the season, Mason Mount won’t feature after injuring his calf in the CWC final, the rest should be available for selection.
Crystal Palace have a healthy squad but they’re unable to call on one of their best players this season, Connor Gallagher can’t play against his parent club so he will sit out this one, Michael Olise will probably be drafted to the middle or Ebere Eze in the hole.
Palace fans won’t want to see this but they have lost each of their last five games to Chelsea, in fact they last time they hosted the Blues, they shipped four and only managed one goal, it’s a record they have to do something about.
What is Chelsea’s motivation to win? They can catch City if they believe to be honest, they still have a date with the Champions and can hope Liverpool would also take points from them, Thomas Tuchel’s statement that it’s beyond them now is unacceptable, they should be challenging for the title.
The Eagles must be brave, they must fight for every ball and defend deep. Wilfred Zaha and whoever is preferred upfront must take their chances when they get one, it would be a game of little margins.