Chelsea are involved in another London derby tomorrow evening as out-of-form Crystal Palace welcome a Chelsea side chasing Champions League football for next season.
The hosts go into this fixture having lost their last three league matches, where Chelsea returned to winning ways against Watford in what was a comfortable victory for Frank Lampard and his team.
One of the positives about having fixtures coming so thick and fast is that teams have quick chances to bounce back from defeats, which is exactly what Chelsea did against a relegation threatened Watford.
With five games remaining there’s only two points that separate Chelsea and an in-form Manchester United in fifth spot. Basically if Chelsea slip up in any of their remaining fixtures, you can bet that United will pounce and leapfrog the Blues. However, with six wins from their last seven games across all competitions, Lampard’s side are starting to show the sort of consistency they will need to maintain for the remainder of the Premier League season.
Kepa, James, Christensen, Zouma, Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Barkley, Mount, Willian, Giroud, Pulisic
Even though Chelsea were convincing winners on the weekend, the Blues suffered a potentially significant blow to their top-four hopes when N’Golo Kante was substituted with a hamstring injury. However, the full extent of the problem has not been revealed, but Lampard has reiterated that he will miss this game tomorrow evening. The Frenchman has been used in what people suggest is his best position in a more deeper role since the resumption – a role he is thriving in.
Other casualties through injury are Mateo Kovacic and Fikayo Tomori who will both miss the trip to Selhurst Park. Lampard could be tempted to make a handful of changes in which adds freshness in his team. Players like Ross Barkley will be hopeful of another start, having been directly involved in eight goals in his last 10 starts in all competitions. Oliver Giroud is arguably Chelsea’s first-choice striker after another fine display on Saturday leading the line in exceptional fashion. The Frenchman has scored four goals in his last seven Premier League games for Chelsea – more than he netted in his previous 38 league appearances.
In previous meetings between the two sides, Chelsea have won the last four editions of this fixture, scoring two or more goals in nine of their last 10 Premier League encounters.
After reaching the ‘apparent safety’ 40-point mark, Palace’s form has dropped off, whereas Chelsea understand that every match is a cup final for them. With teams breathing down their neck for a Champions League place, the Blues will have the upper hand if they win at Selhurst Park tomorrow evening. The likes of Manchester United, Leicester City and Wolves play their game in hand after this fixture where the gap between them and Chelsea could be larger if the Blues come away with all three points.
If Chelsea run away with this one, expect the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi to feature in the second-half. Both players will be hopeful they can get some minutes on the pitch and gain a bit of form to put them in contention for a starting place on the weekend.
Result Prediction: Crystal Palace 0-2 Chelsea