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Match Previews

Preview: Chelsea vs Crystal Palace

9 March 2018

Palace are targeting a third-straight win at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, as Roy Hodgson's team look to bounce back from their last minute heartache against both Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, and move out of the bottom three.

In what is arguably their toughest stretch of matches this campaign, the Eagles cross the capital to west London to face the Blues, for whom they have become a bit of a bogey club. Following 2-1 wins in April 2017 at the Bridge and in October, Palace could become the first team to beat Chelsea in three consecutive games since 2012.

A treble of straight successes at the home of the reigning champions is also rarer, with the last team to do so being Blackburn Rovers between 1993 and 1995, and the last time Chelsea lost three straight home London derbies to the same side in the top-flight stretches even further back to 1974.

Blues Stuttering At Just The Wrong Time

Eden Hazard

Having been firmly on course for a top-four finish and potentially some silverware before the turn of the year, 2018 has seen Conte's team hit a slump at a crucial point in the campaign, with just four wins coming since New Year's Day - two of which were in the FA Cup.

Four defeats in their last five Premier League games has seen them slip out of the UEFA Champions League spots; in contrast their previous four defeats in the competition came over a run of 30 matches. They exited the League Cup at the semi-final stage to Arsenal, and face a tricky-looking FA Cup quarter-final tie with Leicester City next weekend.

Sandwiched between that game and the visit of Hodgson's Palace is a trip to the Nou Camp to take on Barcelona next Wednesday, with the tie tantalisingly poised at 1-1 after the first leg.

View From The Opposition

Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte: "The teams ahead of us are going with a great velocity and it is important for us to not drop points in games and in the future exploit the games we have at home. We have to go at speed.

"[Palace] lost two games, the last couple of games and they deserved more against Spurs and United. They lost at the end, we must pay great attention, we need to get three points and we are playing against a good team with talented players.

"We are talking about a really good player [in Zaha]. I remember earlier in the season away he scored and created a lot of problems. But Palace are not just Zaha, Townsend for me is a really good player, and Benteke. There are a lot of good players and to see them in their position is strange."

Team News

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Timothy Fosu-Mensah is available again after missing the match against Manchester United due to his loan agreement.  

Both Wilfried Zaha and Mamadou Sakho have taken part in "modified" training sessions, and Hodgson has admitted he'll have to evaulate whether they're ready to play a part at Stamford Bridge. Joe Ward and Yohan Cabaye are both doubts.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is ineligible for the match but is apparently progressing well in his efforts to return to action. Scott Dann, Bakary Sako, Julian Speroni, Jason Puncheon and Connor Wickham remain sidelined.

Conte should be boosted by the return of N'Golo Kante who missed last weekend's defeat to Manchester City, while Ross Barkley could also return from a hamstring injury.

However, David Luiz is set to spend another four weeks on the sidelines with an ankle issue, and Tiemoue Bakayoko is doubtful with a calf strain.

Matchday Officials

Anthony Taylor

Anthony Taylor takes charge of just his second Palace game of the season, having overseen the 2-2 draw with Everton in November. The Eagles have won six and drawn five of the 18 games the Champions League-appointed referee has officiated.

Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistants: Adam Nunn and Daniel Cook
Fourth Official: Chris Kavanagh

Matchday Stats

Christian Benteke

The Eagles have won back-to-back Premier League games at Stamford Bridge, after failing to win any of their first 13 at the ground in top-flight competition (D5 L8).

The last time the Blues lost three successive league games was in November 2015 under Jose Mourinho.

However, at home, Chelsea have lost just one of their last 10 (W8 D1), and have kept clean sheets in five of their last six Premier League games at Stamford Bridge.

Since a run of 10 successive Premier League away games without a goal, the Eagles have scored in each of their last six on the road – their best run since December 2016 (eight games).

Christian Benteke has been directly involved in five goals in his last four appearances against Chelsea (three goals, two assists).

Willian has had a hand in 16 goals in his last 17 starts for Chelsea in all competitions (11 goals, 5 assists).

Olivier Giroud has been directly involved in a goal in each of his five starts against Palace (four goals, one assist).

Of the teams Eden Hazard has played on seven or more occasions, only against Swansea has he scored as few goals (one goal in nine games).

Chelsea have scored the most headed goals (13) in the division this season.

Roy Hodgson is looking to become the third manager to complete a league double over Antonio Conte, after Delio Rossi (for Sampdoria in 2012/13) and Pep Guardiola, who achieved this feat last weekend.


  Chelsea wins Draws Palace wins
League 19 14 8
FA Cup 2 1 2
League Cup 0 0 1
Total 21 15 11

Matchday Information 

Stamford Bridge

Tickets for Palace fans have sold out.

Coach travel will depart from Selhurst Park at 3pm, costing £15 - book now

For information about the ground and travel directions, see our Away Travel Guide.

Check out the visiting supporters guide for all those Palace fans making the journey. 

Live Coverage

If you can’t make it to Stamford Bridge, there will be live commentary on Palace Player, for which a 24-hour pass can be purchased if you aren't an annual subscriber.

There will also be updates on Twitter, and highlights available on Palace TV from midnight on Sunday morning. 

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