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Match Previews

Preview: Palace v Chelsea

28 March 2014


ABOUT
Table toppers Chelsea come to Selhurst Park this weekend as two sides at opposing ends of the Barclays Premier League do battle in a London derby. 

Palace will be looking to put an end to a run that has seen them lose their last two home games and pick up just two points from their last five in the league. 

Tony Pulis’ men were unfortunate not to add to that tally last time out at St James’ Park though, where an injury time header from Papiss Cisse denied Palace what would have been a well-deserved point. 

The Eagles will be buoyed by their performance at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, where Ramires’ strike handed Chelsea a narrow 2-1 win. 

Blues manager Jose Mourinho hailed the Palace fans as “fantastic” after that match back in December and the Portuguese will be aware of the hostile atmosphere awaiting his title-chasing side at Selhurst Park on Saturday. 

Chelsea saw their lead at the top of the Premier League cut to just a solitary point in midweek after Liverpool’s victory over Sunderland and will see victory in SE25 as a must if they are to continue setting the pace.

However they showed some vulnerability on the road in their last away trip to Aston Villa, where they were beaten 1-0, although they did recover to hit Arsenal for six in their last league outing.  

TEAM NEWS
Crystal Palace: Top scorer Marouane Chamakh, who netted Palace’s goal at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, while fellow striker Dwight Gayle is also out having picked up an ankle injury in training. 

Other than that Tony Pulis will have a fully-fit squad at his disposal ahead of what is the Eagles’ final home local derby of the campaign.

Chelsea: Chelsea’s match winner in the reverse fixture in December, Ramires, will sit out Saturday’s game through suspension having been sent off in the defeat at Villa Park.

Samuel Eto’o picked up a hamstring injury in the 6-0 demolition of Arsenal last weekend so will be forced to watch from the sidelines this weekend, while Ashley Cole is not set to return from his knee ligament injury until next month. 

Chelsea’s only other injury is to Marco van Ginkel, who has been sidelined since September with an anterior cruciate knee ligament problem.

MATCH OFFICIALS
Referee: Lee Mason
Assistants: L Betts and S Bennett
Fourth Official: A Taylor 

HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD
Palace winsDrawsChelsea wins
League41415
FA Cup212
League Cup100
Total71517

LAST MEETING AT SELHURST PARK
Crystal Palace have not hosted Chelsea since they met as Premier League opponents in August 2004, when the visitors recorded a hard-earned 2-0 victory. 

In what was Jose Mourinho’s second away game as a top flight manager in England, Didier Drogba gave the Blues the lead with his first ever Premier League goal just before the half hour mark.

Full back Celestine Babayaro got forward down the left and whipped in a cross for Drogba to head home with 28 minutes played.

It remained 1-0 at half time as Iain Dowie’s underdogs looked for an equaliser, but Chelsea eventually got their killer second goal on 73 minutes.

Another of Mourinho’s signings, Tiago, opened his Premier League account with a crisp 18-yard drive to seal the points and send Chelsea top of the table – where they would ultimately go on to finish the season.  

TICKET NEWS
A very limited number of tickets remain for Saturday’s eagerly-awaited London derby against Chelsea, which we expect to sell out by the end of today. 

Please note that these tickets are all for restricted view seats. 

Tickets are available to season ticket holders and members – and the usual policy of having to also purchase the same number of tickets to a category B game have now been lifted for this fixture. 

To book your tickets for the game online, CLICK HERE, or call 0871 200 0071. Alternatively, the box office will be open to personal callers until 5pm today.   

MATCHDAY INFORMATION
Supporters travelling to Saturday’s game by car should be aware that Spring Lane is closed completely to all traffic.

For fans arriving at Selhurst Park by train, there will be no services running to or from London Bridge throughout the day.  

BETTING
Crystal Palace: 7/1
Drawn: 7/2
Chelsea: 2/5
Odds courtesy of SkyBet. CLICK HERE to bet online now. 
New customers receive a free matched bet worth up to £30!

LIVE COVERAGE
Commentary from all 90 minutes at Selhurst Park will be available live and uninterrupted on Palace Player. CLICK HERE to log in or sign up to our award-winning service. 

Alternatively, you can follow minute-by-minute text updates from the game by following the club’s official Twitter account, @Official_CPFC, or by checking out #EaglesFeed.


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