A new year emerges, along with renewed hopes of better things to come. Especially given how the year 2015 made a 180° turn since we lifted the Premier League title in May. But, it's time to move forward and hope that under Guus Hiddink's guidance, we will be able to turn our fortunes around along with the turn of the calendar year.
Our chances of reaching top-four in the Premier League are still slim and every result other than victory takes us a few miles apart from it. But there's still the Champions League play-off rounds and the FA Cup to look forward to. All hope isn't lost (yet).
As for our next match, we can only expect one thing: another
Date/Time: Sunday, January 2, 2016, 13:30 GMT; 08:30 EST; 18:30 IST
Venue: Selhurst Park, London, England
Referee: Kevin Friend - Friend refereed in our Capital One Cup elimination in penalties to Stoke City in October, but he also refereed the 1-0 win against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge that gave us the Premier League title last season. Let's see if he can bring us the same luck in the next game.
Forecast: Rain is expected to fall in early morning, but it should be dry for the rest of the day.
On TV: Sky Sports 1/HD (UK); NBCSN (USA); Star Sports 1/HD 1 (India); elsewhere
Streaming Online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra (USA); Chelsea TV, Talksport (Radio int'l)
Crystal Palace team news: Alan Pardew has a big problem on his hands as midfielder Yohan Cabaye got suspended after picking up a fifth yellow card this season against Swansea in their last game. He joins injured players Yannick Bolasie (muscle strain), Bakary Sako (hamstring), Connor Wickham (muscle strain), Kwesi Appiah (ACL) and Dwight Gayle (hamstring) in the list of players unavailable for the match against Chelsea.
Speaking of unavailable players, another one who won't be seeing the pitch today is Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford, whose comments on a perceived lack of chances given by Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace - followed by an apology on Twitter - didn't sit well within the team. There has been no official words in regards to whether Bamford already ended his loan spell, with Guus Hiddink saying in his latest press conference that the boards from both clubs will sort Bamford's situation out.
As for their latest form, the Eagles are on an unbeaten six-match run started by a 5-1 trouncing of Newcastle. But back-to-back goalless draws against Bournemouth and Swansea in the Premier League indicate that the team are sorely missing a true goalscorer, with their 5 strikers combining for 5 goals scored this season - 4 of which coming from the injured Yannick Bolasie. You can find more on Palace in our opposition analysis.
Chelsea team news: Guus Hiddink talked to the media three days ago and addressed topics ranging from transfer rumours to comments from Alan Pardew on the lack of chances given to English manager from the big Premier League clubs. All in all, an uneventful press conference.
In the injury department, strikers Radamel Falcao and Loïc Rémy are set to miss this match, both of whom are involved in several transfer rumours. Gary Cahill might miss the game as well although Hiddink sounded hopeful that the English defender could recover from an ankle injury before the game.
We should see Cesc Fàbregas, who missed our last match against Manchester United due to a fever, and Diego Costa, who was suspended following a fifth yellow card picked up against Watford, returning to the line-up against Palace.
Under Guus Hiddink's command, the Blues have yet to record a win - our last win against Sunderland had assistants Steve Holland and Eddie Newton sharing managerial guidance. Hiddink's first match against Watford could have been won had we scored the penalty missed by Oscar, while his latest against Manchester United had moments of dominance from both clubs that didn't amount to any goals. We should see whether the team can keep on improving to justify the board's trust on the squad.
Previously: Our last match against Crystal Palace was in the Premier League earlier this season and won't bring many fond memories, although with a new year there's also hopes of new winds (and better results).