Saturday 29/8/15, Stamford Bridge, 3pm
Odds: Chelsea: 17/50, Palace: 7/1, Draw: 4/1
Referee: Craig Pawson
Last three meetings:
Chelsea 1-0 Palace
Palace 1-2 Chelsea
Palace 1-0 Chelsea
Form: Chelsea: LDLW, Palace: WLW
Chelsea – Victor Moses/Oscar
Palace – Kwesi Appiah, Frazier Campbell, Marouane Chamakh/Julian Speroni, Connor Wickham
Chelsea: John Terry
Win, Lose or Draw?
Those Crystal Palace fans who declared in pre-season that, come August bank holiday weekend, the Eagles would have double the wins of champions Chelsea have been celebrating the marvellous accuracy of their foresight in the faces of the many who took questioned their sanity at the time.
It took them four matches, but the Blues finally snared their first lot of spoils for the campaign at West Brom last weekend, though they owe Baggies’ ace James Morrison and his misplaced penalty plenty for their 3-2 triumph.
While Jose Mourinho’s men have been in turmoil, the super-charged Eagles have been savouring some excellent form, claiming two victories from their opening three Premier League games.
Their haul of six points may well have been higher had Lady Luck not been sat in the away end of Arsenal’s visit to Selhurst Park, but defeat to the Gunners in matchday two was exiled to the outer reaches of the memory with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa last time out.
Such has been their excellence on the road under Alan Pardew, home points have become something of a bonus for the south Londoners and the opportunity to board the team bus once more will be welcomed, regardless of the class of their next opponents.
Chelsea have looked vulnerable against speedy wingers, with Jefferson Montero first, then Raheem Sterling taking the usually-reliable Branislav Ivanovic to the cleaners, supermarket, DIY store and various other establishments of this ilk in the opening two matches of the season.
Few Premier League franchises boast a quota of flying widemen quite like Palace and, oozing Chelsea kryptonite, they’re capable of giving the Blues’ backline another hard time here.
This, coupled with a bit of good fortune and some dependable defending, will prove the cocktail to see them dodge defeat at the Bridge.
Recommended bet: Palace win or draw double-chance @ 21/10
These two are yet to partake in a Premier League match this season in which the 2.5-goal line has been limbo-ed under, with a combined total of 22 registered across their six matches.
Five of their last eight top-tier meetings have complied with the trend too, including three of their last four contested on Chelsea turf.
With their combined goals touching on four-per-outing, it may be worth punting on the 3.5 line being crossed, but 2.5 is a mark that will be surpassed with ease.
Recommended bet: Over 3.5 goals @ 33/20
Who’s going to score?
Wilfried Zaha and Bakary Sako are part of Palace’s army of lightning wingers to have scored already this season, but regular contributor Jason Puncheon is yet to register.
He bagged three in the final eight games of the previous campaign, all against high-profile adversaries in the shape of Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool.
Such form spells a goal against Chelsea, though don’t bank on him netting the first.
Recommended bet: Jason Puncheon to score any time @ xx
Crystal Palace have scored and shipped in all three of their league games so far, while Chelsea have done so in two of their trio.
It was the Blues’ attack that prevented them from matching the Eagles in this respect, with their defence duly leaking in each of their outings thus far.
Palace have a road ledger that suggests they’ll elongate this porous streak here.
In just three away matches in 2015 have they failed to find the net, while Chelsea didn’t blank at home throughout the entirety of last term.
Recommended bet: Both teams to score – Yes @ evens