Crystal Palace v Chelsea - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

To be played on Saturday 29th March 2014 at 15:00. Venue: Selhurst Park, London.

Odds: Crystal Palace 19/2, Draw 18/5, Chelsea 5/11

Last season: N/A

Preview & injury news

Crystal Palace remain in a precarious position in the table as they are a place above the drop zone, three points above Sunderland having played a game more. However the Eagles aren't in the best of form having not won in their last five, including a last minute defeat to Newcastle United last week, so if they were to overcome title chasing Chelsea this weekend it would be one of the shock results of the season - even if it is at Selhurst Park.

Chelsea are currently leading the way in the league table and are a point clear of Liverpool at the top but the title remains in the hands of Manchester City who would leapfrog both sides if they win their games in hand. They bounced back from their defeat to Aston Villa by hammering Arsenal 6-0 and would feel they have a pretty good run-in. But this is a potential banana skin that Chelsea ought to overcome this weekend.

On the injury front the home side could be sweating over the fitness of striker Marouane Chamakh who has a hamstring problem. The Eagles have recently suffered an injury blow with Dwight Gayle recently picking up an ankle injury in training. 

For the visitors, Ashley Cole could return to the squad after a muscle problem but Samuel Eto'o is unlikely to feature after the hamstring problem he picked up in the win over Arsenal. The Blues will be heartened by the fact that Marco Van Ginkel has begun his recovery from cruciate ligament injury by playing at under-21 level but there has been no timescale put on his recovery.

Key stats

Here are the two side's top scorers in the Premier League this season:

Eden Hazard Chelsea FW 14 31 2,640
Samuel Eto'o Chelsea FW 8 19 1,187
Oscar Chelsea MF 8 29 1,904
Marouane Chamakh Crystal Palace FW 5 26 1,917
Dwight Gayle Crystal Palace FW 3 20 746
Jason Puncheon Crystal Palace MF 3 26 1,895

Here are their average possession statistics:

NamePossession PercentagePlayed
Chelsea 54.19 31
Crystal Palace 37.20 30

And the amount of clean sheets the two sides have kept this season:

NameClean SheetPlayed
Chelsea 14 31
Crystal Palace 8 30

5 players to watch

Julian Speroni - Chelsea are likely to have the lions' share of the play at Selhurst Park, and if that's the case then Speroni could be in for a busy afternoon in the Palace goal. He will have to be at his best to keep a title chasing Chelsea side at bay. 

John Terry - With Chelsea likely to face a physical threat from the home side, the centre halves could be in for a rough afternoon meaning that Terry is going to need to put in a commanding performance at centre-back to combat any threat from the side scrapping for survival.

Mile Jedinak - Jedinak is a big presence in the middle of the park and pretty good with the ball at his feet. However, he is going to be in for a difficult afternoon against a Chelsea midfield with plenty of presence and bite. Jedinak is going to have to use whatever possession at his disposal wisely.

Eden Hazard - In most season's you'd think Hazard was on course to take the Player of the Year title but not this season. Nevertheless he has been in sensational form this season, and if the visitors are struggling to break down Palace, the chances are that they will be turning to their ace in the pack.

Cameron Jerome - Palace are likely to be under pressure for a lot of the game but Jerome does have a bit of pace about him which means he could be effective for the home side on the counter-attack. It's just a question of whether what he does will be effective enough.

Earlier on in the season

Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace, December 2013

Chelsea were made to work for their win as all the goals came in the first half against Crystal Palace. Fernando Torres opened the scoring for the home side after he tapped in the rebound from a Willian shot which hit the woodwork. Marouane Chamakh equalised for the visitors by volleying home a Joel Ward cross. Ramires restored Chelsea's lead with a terrific strike from the edge of the area. But Petr Cech made a string of fine saves to keep Palace at bay and the performance led to Jose Mourinho doubting the credentials of his side picking up any silverware during the campaign.

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