Match Preview: Chelsea vs Crystal Palace


By - Saturday 14th December, 2013

After a run of good results, Palace face their sternest test for a while against neighbours Chelsea


Image by wkocjan, used under Creative Commons (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wkocjan/2664989976/)

Back to back victories ensured Palace climbed off the bottom of the Premier League table once again this week and credit must go to Tony Pulis for this revival at Selhurst Park.

Pulis has chosen to alter the formation slightly with Cameron Jerome partnering Marouane Chamakh up-front. The latter is able to drop deep and influence play from an advanced midfield position, bringing numerous others into play and consequently providing Palace with more opportunities. This has worked brilliantly and with the superb form shown by Barry Bannan suddenly the Eagles look a lot more likely to find the back of the net.

Defensively, Joel Ward has continued to perform to such a standard that his team mate Jonny Williams believes the former Portsmouth man deserves a call up to the England squad. Damien Delaney and Danny Gabbidon have struck up an excellent partnership in the centre of defence with a great understanding, which has enabled Palace to keep three clean sheets in their last four matches. After being substituted on Saturday against Cardiff as a precautionary measure, Dean Moxey is hoping that his recovery from a slight hamstring problem will be as soon as this weekend’s clash with third placed Chelsea. Should he not recover in time then Joel Ward may continue to deputise at left-back after proving more than able to cover either full-back position. Adrian Mariappa would then slot in to Ward’s right-back position.

Barry Bannan has proved to be a steal at £750k and should continue in midfield alongside Mile Jedinak and Kagisho Dikgacoi. There is still no sign of either Jose Campana or Jonathan Parr returning to the starting line-up or the bench, but both have been travelling with the squad. Jonathan Williams continues his comeback from injury and will likely find himself having to contend with a spot amongst the substitutes against the club he supported as a young child, before he signed for Palace. The game comes too early for Adlene Guedioura, who told the official website that he hopes to be back in around a month.

Another player out with a long term injury who could return within a month is Glenn Murray, who remains on track to return to action in the coming weeks. No doubt he will first play a number of development matches to ensure a swift return to fitness. Paddy McCarthy still remains out with what one presumes is the thigh injury which set him back just prior to his scheduled return last month.

Palace are on form, but even with Chelsea missing Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill it is almost certain that Jose Mourinho will have his unbeaten home record as Chelsea boss, intact come 5pm Saturday.

Prediction:
Chelsea 2-1 Palace

Matt Woosnam

Matt Woosnam

Matt Woosnam is a Kingston University student in his final year as a Politics & International Relations undergraduate. A campaigner on mental health he is the founder of @Talk_Out, as well as part of the TalkEasyTrust, and seeks to break down stigma by encouraging talking out. Matt is also an avid Crystal Palace fan and the online editor of Five Year Plan Fanzine, as well as a regular contributor to the Croydon Guardian.

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