Chelsea haven’t had the best of times against Crystal Palace in the last five seasons, winning just 6 of the 10 meetings since the Eagles returned to the top flight in 2013. Chelsea have even lost twice at the Bridge during that span and before the 2-1 win in March, had lost two in a row to the perennial relegation-battlers. In short, they’re a bit of a bogey team.
Palace may be coming in on the back of a five-match winless streak (four in the league) and Chelsea may be riding a 14-match unbeaten streak (ten in the league), nothing can be taken for granted. Add in Chelsea’s struggles on Wednesday (albeit mostly by the second-string players), and it’s clear that there is no margin for relaxation or error.
Chelsea have been dealing with a few knocks and bruises and injuries as of late, but just about everyone should be available. Eden Hazard has been training all week, as has Ethan Ampadu, while Olivier Giroud’s “muscle fatigue” that kept him out midweek is surely not a multi-day concern. The players may be tired, but that’s what the rotation is supposed to manage. So now it should be back to the first-string. Or should it?