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Chelsea vs Crystal Palace – Match Preview

 

Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season continued last weekend as they made light work of Burnley at Turf Moor, while this Sunday they will look to make it 11 games without a league defeat as they play host to Crystal Palace.

It was another day to forget for Sean Dyche’s men as they shipped four goals without reply to a Chelsea side that was missing Eden Hazard due to a back injury. A result and a performance that sends ominous signs to their nearest title rivals.

That win in East Lancashire means that come the end of the game week Chelsea once again found themselves two points behind both Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the table, and should the latter drop points against Arsenal then Maurizio Sarri’s men will look to take advantage.

If they are to do so then they will need to get the better of a Crystal Palace side who play their second London derby in as many weeks, not only that but they will look to build on the point they earned at home to Arsenal last Sunday.

It was a much improved Palace side who put Arsenal under pressure throughout the full ninety minutes and if it weren’t for sharper finishing from both Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha they could well have earned all three points.

And although they found the net twice last weekend, the fact that neither were from open play will be of some concern for manager Roy Hodgson. They had to rely on the ice cool nerve of Luka Milivojevic as the Serbian international netted a pair of penalties at Selhust Park.

However, this is not a tactic that the Eagles can rely on each week. Especially when you consider that the same Milivojevic missed a spot kick to put them ahead against Everton a fortnight ago, a fixture that they then went on to lose late on after conceding twice in the dying minutes.

They are only making a short journey across the capital, but the trip to Stamford Bridge will not be an easy one come Sunday. Chelsea are firing on all cylinders at the moment and more importantly have goals throughout their squad.

Ross Barkley continues to earn the plaudits as he has now scored in his last three Premier League outings, goals against Southampton and Manchester United were then added to as he scored Chelsea’s second against Burnley last weekend.

His prolonged upturn in form could be integral in Chelsea mounting a real title challenge this season, one that in fairness many did not think would happen so early under the reign of new manager Maurizio Sarri.

That said the transition has been a seamless one since he replaced Antonio Conte in the Summer and the football that is being offered up this season is a stark improvement compared to that of 12 months ago.

If Chelsea can turn it on again, something that they are more than capable of doing then it could well be a long afternoon for Crystal Palace. The Blues are heavy favourites for this one and rightly so, this has all the signs of a routine home win.