Crystal Palace visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday with Gary Cahill making his return to Stamford Bridge for the first time since he left at the end of last season. In his spectacular career at Chelsea, Cahill won everything domestically plus the 2012 Champions League. Munich was Cahill’s first game back for the club after the 2-2 game in the Camp Nou, this after recovering from his hamstring injury.
Palace come to Stamford Bridge in ninth position, having won four, drawn three and lost four; their most recent game was at home to Leicester, which ended with a 0-2 defeat. They showed some form at the start of the season, but in more recent games that form has dropped away. Palace did come back from 2-0 down at Arsenal to draw 2-2 at the end of October thanks to goals by Milivojevic and Jordan Ayew. There is some familiarity, as last weeks opponents Watford did the same to Arsenal at Vicarage Road back in September
After the Leicester defeat, Roy Hodgson said that his team defended well, he also said that his side wasn’t blessed with a lot of goal scorers, a point proven as Jordan Ayew is currently their top scorer with four goals. Luka Milivojevic is next with two goals, while former Chelsea defender Patrick van Aanholt also has two goals to his name. Palace striker Christian Benteke is still to get off the mark for the season.
We have Jorginho suspended for this game after his booking against Watford last week. With Jorginho out, N’Golo Kante who was an unused substitute against Ajax on Wednesday may come back into the side after his injury. Ross Barkley has been ruled out of the squad as he has ongoing ankle issues.
Ten goal Tammy Abraham should start up front while Michy Batshuayi, who was on loan at Palace for half of last season should be on the bench along with Olivier Giroud. Mason Mount may be ruled out of this game after sustaining an ankle injury against Ajax on Wednesday evening; a fitness test on Friday will determine if he will start.
It took a lot of durability and mental strength for the team to come back from 1-4 down against Ajax on Wednesday evening; Palace may come to Stamford Bridge to stifle and look for a point, so the game could well be completely the opposite to Wednesday. However, this Chelsea team under Frank pass the ball a lot faster than under Mourinho, Conte and Sarri, so breaking down Cahill (if fit) et al, could well provide us with three points.
Should we win we will go up to second place ahead of Manchester City, they play leaders Liverpool on Sunday. Third placed Leicester play at home to Arsenal in the 5.30pm kick off. Last season we won 3-1 at home to Palace, with Alvaro Morata scoring two and Pedro notching the other. Moving up to second, albeit temporarily perhaps, would give us a great boost ahead of the international break. An early goal could open the floodgates; however, I’ll be more conservative (unlike how I’ll vote in the general election) and say 2-0 Chelsea.