Here is how Chelsea and Crystal Palace will line-up for this afternoon’s match at Stamford Bridge:
Chelsea starting XI: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Essien, Willian, Mata, Hazard, Torres
Subs: Schwarzer, Cole, Lampard, Oscar, Schurrle, Ba, Eto’o
Crystal Palace starting XI: Speroni, Mariappa, Delaney, Gabbidon, Ward, Jedinak, Dikgacoi, Bannan, Puncheon, Jerome, Chamakh
Subs: Price, Parr, O'Keefe, Williams, Gayle, Kebe, Bolasie
If this match had been played a few weeks ago, no one in their right mind would have tipped Crystal Palace to take anything more from it than a complete battering. And yet Tony Pulis has given the Eagles’ hope that this season may not be as much of a lost cause as previously thought.
That said, I still expect Chelsea to win this afternoon, but the longer the match stays at 0-0, well, you know the rest.
The Blues are unbeaten in their last 11 games against Palace, and it will take an almighty effort to change that this afternoon. The visitors have taken just two points from their last eight top flight meetings with Chelsea.
And yet Palace’s defensive record is outstanding at the moment, with only one goal conceded in their last five league matches. Could they make that just one in six?
What do you think the result will be this afternoon?
image: © Tom Cuppens