Chelsea can finally clinch the Premier League title this weekend with a win over Crystal Palace. The Blues won at Leicester on Wednesday night opening up a 13 point gap between them and second place. Now all they need to bring the Premier League trophy back to Stamford Bridge for the first time in five years is three points at home to a mid-table Palace side that has little to play for.
It looks like a pretty straightforward task, but Palace have an excellent away record under Alan Pardew. They’ve won seven out of eight away matches since he took over in January, and he’ll be hoping to claim his biggest scalp yet as the Eagles go chasing a record points total and a first ever top half finish in the Premier League.
While that’s Palace’s goal, Chelsea are on course for the league title, as they look to add it to the League Cup that they won earlier in the season. You could see after the Arsenal and Leicester games just how much those points meant to them, and it seems like the squad now firmly believe that they’re champions. There’s still some work to do, as pointed out by John Terry at the King Power on Wednesday.
There is a scenario where the Blues could slip up and win it without playing, on Monday night – they just have to match Arsenal’s result at Hull to put it beyond doubt. The league leaders won’t be letting that thought cross their minds, as they will be focused on victory in front of their own fans, finally sealing the title after leading the table since the opening day of the season.
Ahead of this game, Diego Costa faces a late fitness test to see if he can return from his hamstring injury, while Loic Remy seems to be ruled out. Didier Drogba led the line once again on Wednesday, and he picked up a much needed goal to boost his confidence. While he doesn’t match up to the dominant powerhouse he was in his first spell, he still knows where the goal is.
There’s doubt it would be a much easier game if Costa was passed fit, but there seems to be enough goals from midfield now to replace him. High scoring midfielders was something Jose Mourinho loved in his first spell, and he’s still promoting it if Wednesday night was anything to go by. Both Matic and Ramires were at the edge of the Foxes’ box just after going 2-1 up, with the Brazilian scoring an excellent strike from range.
That shows how ridiculous the debate over Mourinho’s so called boring style of play is. They’ve been far and away the best side in the league this season, and they played some excellent stuff early on in the campaign. That’s still there on Wednesday’s evidence, even without Costa, and we expect the Blues to blow away Palace and win the title in style.
LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 3-0