Chelsea have just seven games left to play during the 2013/14 season, and don't have much (if any) room for error if they want to win the Premier league title this season. They certainly can't afford to be dropping points to relegation threatened sides like Crystal Palace, and anything less than three points from this match will be bitterly disappointing.
I think by this point, we all know how a Tony Pulis coached club usually plays. While the transition from last season's Crystal Palace side to that sort of squad wasn't instantaneous, now that it's March, we're starting to see the Palace that most of us expected with increasing regularity.
Unfortunately for Palace fans, this Palace side isn't as well suited to that style as the manager's previous squads at Stoke City. Unsurprisingly, they find themselves very much in the relegation scrap with just eight games left to play. Should Palace lose to Chelsea this weekend, a victory by Sunderland over West Ham on Monday would find the newly-promoted side back in the relegation places based on GD.
With that in mind, it's hard to picture Palace doing anything other than playing for a draw, possibly looking to nick a goal here or there if the visitors commit too many men to the attack. Chelsea will likely have little trouble controlling possession in the center of the park, though it will probably require a clinical finish or two in order to open up much space inside the final third. Should be fun, right?
Opponent: Crystal Palace, currently 17th on 28 points with a -20 GD
Venue: Selhurst Park, London, England
Date/time: Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 15:00 GMT (11:00 a.m ET, 8:00 a.m. PT, 20:30 IST)
Forecast: Warm, partly sunny, and no rain.
Chelsea squad news: Ashley Cole and Samuel Eto'o are out with injury, while Ramires is serving the second match of his three-game ban. Marco van Ginkel is also highly unlikely to be back with the first team yet, especially with the rest of the Chelsea midfield being healthy at the moment.
Crystal Palace squad news: Dwight Gayle and Marouane Chamakh will both miss this one due to injury, but that pair appear to be the only players that Tony Pulis will be without.
Television and streaming: UK fans will have to listen on the radio (TalkSport Radio, BBC Radio 5 Live), or use the live audio offered to Chelsea TV subscribers. US viewers can see the game on NBCSN or NBC Sports live Extra, while Indian viewers have their choice of Star Sports 4 or Star Sports HD 2. Everyone else can click the link provided for listings.