Must-Win for Chelsea After Dropping Five Points Already
Chelsea have struggled so far this season, despite having spent so much during the transfer window. It obviously takes time for new signings to gel together, but Chelsea cannot afford to be dropping many more points in these key opening stages of the season.
Having dropped five points already, just three games in, they find themselves in a must-win situation.
In contrast, Crystal Palace have had a much better start to the season than Saturday’s opponents. They’ve picked up two more points than Chelsea, having opened with two consecutive wins. Having started with a 1-0 win over Southampton, they went one further in beating Manchester United 3-1 at Old Trafford in the Red Devils’ curtain-raiser.
They lost for the first time in the league last week, falling short against now-third placed Everton. Losing to Carlo Ancelotti’s side by a single goal, in controversial circumstances too, is not to be of too great a disappointment.
Chelsea are the favourites here, but Crystal Palace could well bounce back. Time and time again, they have proven themselves capable against stronger opposition.
Palace sit sixth in the Premier League table, with Chelsea in ninth. If there is a winner on Saturday, they will go above the other.
The Eagles were beaten by AFC Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup second round, so were not in action in midweek. Whereas Chelsea added to their disappointment from last week’s draw with West Bromwich Albion, losing to Tottenham Hotspur on penalties, despite having led with eight minutes to go. Exiting that competition in such fashion has only made the need for a win much greater.
Chelsea have won all of the last five meetings between the two sides, though Palace will have hope from having won three of the five before that.
The last meeting was a 3-2 win for the Blues at Selhurst Park in July. Olivier Giroud, Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham were all on the scoresheet that day, Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke for Palace.
The previous meeting at Stamford Bridge, where today’s game will be played, saw Chelsea win 2-0 in November 2019. Abraham and Pulisic were also on the scoresheet that day.
Pulisic in the Chelsea Squad
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has reported that Gary Cahill, James Tomkins and Patrick van Aanholt have returned to training, although van Aanholt is doing limited contact work as it’s a shoulder injury. None of the three have featured yet this season.
Scott Dann has also returned to training, but Jeffrey Schlupp will miss Saturday’s game.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard says Christian Pulisic will be in the squad tomorrow but won’t be ready to start. He added that new signing Hakim Ziyech is getting closer, but not yet ready.
Billy Gilmour remains out, with Lampard hoping he will be back in around four weeks.
Chelsea need this one. It is must-win for them, less-so for Palace. They will just edge it, with both teams able to get on the scoresheet.
Score Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace