Saturday’s early kick-off is an intriguing clash between Frank Lampard’s in-form Chelsea side and a Crystal Palace team who are always a dangerous proposition away from Selhurst Park.
Palace have won away at Old Trafford and the London Stadium, as well as achieving a very creditable draw at Arsenal after being two goals down early on.
This is the continuation of the trend that has characterised Roy Hodgson’s time in charge of the club.
Palace sit deep away from home, which suits a defence and central midfield that lacks mobility. But, they carry a big threat on the counter-attack with Wilfried Zaha leading the charge.
Palace have finished in the top 10 of the away league table in the last three seasons and finished as high as sixth last year, only one point behind Chelsea and Man Utd.
Chelsea could have a couple of key absentees with Jorginho out through suspension and Mason Mount a doubt with an ankle injury. Meanwhile, N’Golo Kante should came back into the side and help to stifle Palace’s counter attacks, but Chelsea may be short on creativity.
Jorginho’s eye of the needle pass to unlock Watford’s defence for Tammy Abraham to open the scoring was sublime last week and he’s been a significantly improved player this season, no longer playing in Maurizio Sarri’s rigid system.
His passing has been more positive, and it’s also helped him to have a running threat in behind the defence like Abraham, as opposed to Oli Giroud who simply does not have that in his game.
Mount has scored four league goals in 11 games, while also linking the midfield and attack nicely.
His XG per 90 minutes reflects this is far from a fluke with his numbers similar to solid Premier League strikers like Raul Jimenez and Josh King. If he’s out, I’d expect Willian to play behind Abraham with Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi on the wings.
Given Chelsea’s absences and Palace’s threat on the counter-attack, I’m expecting a pretty competitive game here despite Chelsea being a short-priced 3/10 to win the match.
That’s why I’m tipping Palace in half time double chance market at 10/11. Chelsea went in at 0-0 in their two previous home games against Brighton and Newcastle before emerging victorious.
Best Bet: Half Time Double Chance: Crystal Palace and Draw – 10/11
Both Palace’s full-backs will be in for a tough time against Chelsea’s pacy wide players though and I would expect Joel Ward to struggle in particular.
He’s one of the slower full-backs in the Premier League and I can see him having to haul down Pulisic or Hudson Odoi having been caught for pace. Back him to see at least one flash of yellow.
Best Bet: Joel Ward to be carded – 13/5
* All odds correct at time of posting.