Three key players for Chelsea to collect three points vs Crystal Palace

Pedro Rodriguez

Three players Chelsea will be looking to in order to avoid a slip up and take three points against Crystal Palace.

Chelsea picked up their first win of the season last weekend, but it's been anything but a comfortable ride for the defending Premier League champions at the start of their 2015-16 campaign.

Jose Mourinho's side were beaten 1-0 by Arsenal in the FA Community Shield before being held 2-2 at home by Swansea City in their first league game of the season. They were then thrashed 3-0 by fellow title contenders Manchester City before hanging onto a 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion last Sunday.

John Terry's dismissal in that match will likely see Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma partner in defence for Chelsea today. This partnership has ended both the last two games, conceding three goals whilst they've been on the pitch together.

The Blues have shipped seven goals in their opening three league matches – only Sunderland (8) have allowed more heading into the weekend. That's 2.33 goals per game against Mourinho's side, whom only allowed 0.84 per game last season with a league low 32.

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace have scored six goals and picked up six points as they look to build on last season's 10th place finish.

To come away with anything from Stamford Bridge this afternoon would be a success for Alan Pardew's side, but here are three players who will be key to Chelsea's victory:


The Spanish forward made a huge impact on his debut last weekend by opening the scoring and setting up Chelsea's second, all within the first 30 minutes of his Premier League career. I'm a big fan of Pedro from his days at Barcelona and he's going to be a big success in England.

Crystal Palace, and left-back Pape Souare, are in for a torrid time this afternoon. The forward is a good runner on the ball and makes excellent breaks out of possession to get beyond the back four. This often leads to either a goalscoring chance for Pedro or an opportunity for him to cut the ball back for a teammate.

With the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Willian expected to start, the former Barcelona man will likely get in those positions today.

Diego Costa

Failing to attempt a single shot on target in his opening two matches of the season, Diego Costa found his form last weekend with a goal and being a real nuisance to the West Brom defence.

Crystal Palace don't have the most mobile unit in Scott Dann and Damien Delaney, so I can see Costa finding space in the penalty area. With Eden Hazard and Pedro to pick him out down the wings, I wouldn't be surprised to see his name on the scoresheet this afternoon.

The Costa-Delaney battle could be an interesting one as both are fiery characters. A bit of a shame this one isn't on TV.

Nemanja Matic

Without John Terry's presence at the back, it may be more important than ever for Nemanja Matic to be a strong leader on the field today. Chelsea have had some real defensive problems this season and Crystal Palace pose a considerable threat with the pace they have in attack.

Matic and co will need to keep the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Jason Puncheon quiet in the middle of the field, whilst the full-backs need good games against the two pacey wingers; Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha.

Without Terry, Chelsea may also struggle with set pieces. Matic's height in the box should also be an important factor for the Blues defending. Giving away few set pieces and looking after the ball today will be a real key for Chelsea if they want to keep their first clean sheet of the season.

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