Chelsea will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways when they play hosts to Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
The international break is nearly upon us but before club football takes a break for around 10 days, there is business to be conducted. In the Premier League, Matchday 4 of the 2020/21 campaign kicks-off on Saturday, with the latest round of fixtures starting with a London derby as Chelsea welcome Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge.
Since, beating Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 on the opening game of the season, Chelsea had endured a miserable form, winning just one of their four subsequent games.
The latest setback came in the form of their ouster from the Carabao Cup. That it came at the hands of local rivals Tottenham only seeks to further rub salt into their wounds. As they hope to get back to winning ways, things hardly get any more straightforward, with the tricky Crystal Palace up next.
The Eagles came into the 2020/21 campaign in a precarious position, but have been one of the most impressive teams in the early days of the latest Premier League campaign. Roy Hodgson & co. first beat Southampton on the opening day before claiming a big scalp in Manchester United. Last week, though, Crystal Palace suffered their first league defeat, with Everton beating them 2-1.
The corresponding fixture last season ended in a 2-0 win for Frank Lampard’s side, with Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic on target for the Blues. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, Sportarena takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Frank Lampard has seen his squad’s injury woes ease up considerably ahead of the visit of Crystal Palace. On Saturday afternoon, head coach Frank Lampard will only be bereft of the services of two first-team players, those being Hakim Ziyech and long-term absentee Billy Gilmour.
Frank Lampard had been sweat over the fitness of Timo Werner in build-up to the game, but as it turns out, the German hitman was only suffering from cramps late in the game against Tottenham in midweek.
Werner is, therefore, fit to start against Crystal Palace and should make it to the starting XI. In another piece of good news, Christian Pulisic has made good progress in training this week.
The USA international has been in full training ahead of this weekend’s game, and head coach Frank Lampard has confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Pulisic will be in contention for Palace clash. Pulisic, though, will not start straight away, as was the case with Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva before him.
Speaking of, Ben Chilwell clocked in a decent amount of game-time against Spur in midweek and is in line to make his full Premier League debut for Chelsea when they play hosts to Crystal Palace. Silva, too, should be in the side despite the horrendous error at West Bromwich Albion last week.
In fact, the Brazilian veteran defender ought to don the captain’s armband for Chelsea once again, with Reece James expected to start ahead of Cesar Azpilicueta at right-back once again. As for Silva’s partner at the heart of the Chelsea defence, Andreas Christensen should pip Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori to that spot.
Up ahead in midfield, Jorginho should miss out once again in the Premier League, with Mateo Kovacic starting alongside N’Golo Kante in the double pivot. Mason Mount played the entire ninety once again, but the tireless Englishman ought to start yet again, with Kai Havertz coming into reprise the no. 10 role.
With Pulisic unlikely to make starting XI, Timo Werner should be deployed on the left side of the Chelsea attack, while Tammy Abraham will lead the line for the Blues against Crystal Palace. Finally, in goal, it is Edouard Mendy’s time to make his Premier League debut, starting ahead of Willy Caballero and Kepa Arrizabalaga after impressive performances against Tottenham in midweek.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Mendy; James, Christensen, Silva, Chilwell; Kante, Kovacic; Mount, Havertz, Werner; Abraham
Unlike their counterpart in the Chelsea dugout, Roy Hodgson & co. have a spate of issues hampering their preparations ahead of the short trip to Stamford Bridge.
On Saturday, Roy Hodgson & co. could be without as many eight first-team players, with the only semblance of good news being that most of the absentees are slated to return after the international break.
Those who are certain to miss out against Chelsea due to injuries are James Tomkins, Nathan Ferguson, Gary Cahill, Patrick van Aanholt and Connor Wickham.
Scott Dann and Jeffrey Schlupp are major doubts and the game might have come too soon for them. Meanwhile, Michy Batshuayi is ineligible to take on parent club Chelsea due to the terms of his loan deal with Palace.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Guaita; Ward, Kouyate, Sakho, Mitchell; Townsend, McCarthy, McArthur, Eze; Ayew, Zaha
- Chelsea have prevailed in each of their last five meetings with Crystal Palace and are seeking a sixth consecutive Premier League victory against the Eagles for the first time.
- Chelsea have not lost their opening two home league matches in a season since the 1978/79 campaign when they went on to be relegated from the top flight.
- Crystal Palace could become just the second team to win at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford in consecutive Premier League away games, emulating Sunderland in 2014.
- Chelsea have conceded at least three goals in four of their last 10 league games, as many times as in their previous 56 matches.
- Wilfried Zaha has been involved in six goals in his 12 league games against Chelsea, scoring thrice and assisting as many goals.
It is hoped that Timo Werner will be one of the main goal threats for Frank Lampard’s side this season, with some believing that he can challenge for the golden boot. His numbers for RB Leipzig show how good he is, with 44 Bundesliga goals during the last two seasons.
Although he has yet to net in the Premier League but he has shown positive signs, winning two penalties and causing problems with his movement.
Throughout his career, he has been considered a streaky player and Frank Lampard will be hoping that he can now go on a good run in front of goal, following his first goal for the club in the Carabao Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur in midweek.