It’s been nearly a month since Chelsea last played a Premier League match as the winter break, the FA Cup and the Club World Cup have bridged the gap for Blues fans, and they’ll be relishing the opportunity to see their side get their points tally ticking over again.
That’s much easier said than done against this Palace side however, especially when considering Chelsea’s form needs to be drawn in to question.
Admittedly, they have just officially earned their title as the best club in the world and are on a run of four successive victories, though two of those wins came after extra-time against Plymouth Argyle and Palmeiras, both of whom a side of Chelsea’s calibre should be beating comfortably.
Another came narrowly in a lacklustre performance against Al-Hilal, and Thomas Tuchel will know there’s work to be done.
Palace have been the subject of a lot of praise this season under Viera, though they’ve often struggled to turn performances into results and have only managed five wins so far in the league, winning just two of their last 13 matches, coming against relegation threatened Everton and Norwich.
Back-to-back draws against Norwich and Brentford coming into this are not the results the Eagles were after, with their most recent outing against the bees the only time Palace fans have failed to see their side score at Selhurst Park this season.
Under 2.5 Goals
Aside from a shock away victory at the Etihad, Palace are yet to really threaten the top sides in the league this year and are winless (D2-L5) from their other seven outings against the current top six in the league.
That includes a substantial 3-0 defeat to Chelsea themselves in the reverse fixture, and they’ll be once again missing their star man for this outing.
Connor Gallagher has been a revelation since joining on loan from the Blues, though he’s ineligible to play for his parent club and will have to sit this one out.
He’s only missed three games this season, two of which ended in defeat and the other was a victory over a poor Canaries side, and while that’s a small sample to go off, any side is going to miss their top scorer.
Chelsea haven’t been firing goal in either though, as they’ve failed to score more than once in six of their last seven outings across all competitions despite most of those sides being relatively poor in comparison.
That leads us to believe we’ll see a low scoring affair here, especially with Chelsea’s defensive abilities. From Palace’s 12 home matches this year, only against Liverpool have they lost by more than a single strike, and we can see this being another game of fine margins.
UNDER 2.5 GOALS