After a dramatic 96th minute equaliser from David Omilabu secured a point at Reading last time out, Paddy McCarthy’s side sit level on points with leaders Fulham, separated only on goal difference - you can watch their bid to return to the top LIVE on YouTube here.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have struggled for consistency this season, but have proved that at their best they can be lethal. Twice they have scored eight goals this season, with skilful striker Jude Soonsup-Bell scoring four on each occasion.
The Blues dominated this level in the previous decade, winning two league titles and five straight FA Youth Cups, a feat only matched by Manchester United’s ‘Busby Babes’ of the 1950s. Last season they showed no sign of slowing, only beaten in a delayed final by Manchester City who completed a league and cup double.
Palace go into the match looking for a league double over Chelsea, after a Victor Akinwale goal gave them all three points in their last encounter in October. After defeat to Norwich City in a frantic game last month, Palace have kicked-on to make it just one defeat in eight games.
The potential for goals is obvious: as well as hitting West Bromwich Albion for seven at the start of March, the return of Omilabu to the side means the Eagles’ top scorer could threaten the visitors.
A win for Palace would be a huge boost to their title hopes, as they look to complete a remarkable first season as a Category 1 Academy. The winner of the U18s Premier League South will face their counterparts in the U18s Premier League North, with the winner not only being crowned champions, but qualifying for European football next season.