Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace
- Chelsea won 1-0 on Dec. 17
- Palace won at Chelsea last season
- Blues lead all-time 21W-15D-9L
Big Sam Allardyce will put his relegation-battling mettle on the line with a brutal stretch of games beginning with Crystal Palace’s London Derby at Chelsea on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. EDT on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Palace plays Chelsea, Southampton, Arsenal, Leicester City, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur over the next six fixtures, and are a mere four points clear of the drop zone.
[ MORE: PL Preview — Merseyside Derby ]
Allardyce has led a stiffening of Palace’s once-porous back line, though Eden Hazard, Pedro, and company will challenge that. The Eagles’ three-straight clean sheets have come against Middlesbrough, West Brom, and Watford.
Chelsea’s only league loss since the calendar hit October came in January, a span which has seen the Blues draw only twice.
What they’re saying
Allardyce on Christian Benteke’s two-month goal drought: “From Christian’s point, it’s very frustrating for him because he hasn’t put the ball in the back of the net since Bournemouth. He’s had opportunities and they’ve come and gone, and hopefully they will arrive at the right time for us, which is in the next 10 games. If we are to stay up then we need to get Christian scoring again, and I would hope he could bag five or six goals in the next 10 games to try and help the problem we’re in.”
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte on the plight of Palace: “If you ask me why they are in this position, I don’t know. It’s very strange. When you have this team with these great players it can happen, like with Chelsea last season. They have won the last three games; in the last six games they are sixth in the table. We have to pay great attention.”
It’s nice of Conte to pay lip service to the legit talent of Palace, but this will be a day for the Blues. Chelsea 3-0.