Chelsea take on Crystal Palace this weekend looking to consolidate their place at the top of the Premier League table. After their outstanding 6-0 win over Arsenal last week, the Blues come in to this game full of confidence as they look for their first league title since 2010.
That hammering of the Gunners was Jose Mourinho’s biggest ever win as Chelsea boss, and it was Chelsea’s fourth win in five games. If they can keep up that sort of winning form they’ll be confident of lifting the title, but they know it’s out of their hands at the minute with Manchester City’s games in hand.
Chelsea are currently on a poor run of form on the road, having won just one of their last five away trips. That one win did come in London, in a 3-1 win just down the road at Fulham. The Blues have lost two (at Aston Villa and Manchester City) and drawn two (Galatasaray and West Brom) of their last five away games in all competitions, and they really need to turn that form around in the title run in.
With a good run of eminently winnable matches coming up in the Premier League for Chelsea, starting with Palace, this could be a great chance for Mourinho’s men to stamp their authority on the title race. They beat Palace 2-1 in the meeting at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season; Fernando Torres opened the scoring before Marouane Chamakh equalised, before Ramires scored the winner.
Ramires won’t be available to score the winner at Selhurst Park, with the Brazilian serving the second game of his suspension after his sending off at Villa Park two weeks ago. Aside from that Chelsea’s only potential absentees are injury concerns Ashley Cole, who has been displaced at left back after the great form of Cesar Azplicueta, and Samuel Eto’o. The Cameroon forward scored against Arsenal, but he limped off after 10 minutes.
Willian, who was also sent off at Villa Park, returns from his suspension and is in contention for a return to the side. It’s hard to see Mourinho changing much following the 6-0 win over Arsenal though. Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle and Oscar all scored, so it might seem a little harsh for any of them to make way for Willian. Torres will likely replace Eto’o as he did on Saturday.
The only reason that there may be changes would be rotation ahead of the trip to Paris on Wednesday night for the Champions League clash with PSG. With that game in mind Mourinho may look to rest a few players. Mohammed Salah could replace one of the attacking midfielders if they are rested, as he impressed after coming off the bench against the Gunners and even managed to find his first Chelsea goal.
This game will have fond memories for Mourinho, with his first ever away match with Chelsea coming at Selhurst Park back in 2004. That was the Portuguese’s second game in charge of Chelsea, after a 1-0 win over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge just a few days before, and his side won 2-0. We fancy the same again this time around.
LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 2-0