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Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace, Premier League: Preview, Team news, how to watch

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Another must-win

Crystal Palace v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Two sides badly in need of a win will meet at Stamford Bridge in Saturday’s late game.

Chelsea have lost four of their last five in the Premier League. Palace aren’t doing much better, losing their last two to late goals against Tottenham and Manchester United, the latter on an added-time gut punch.

Unexpectedly, recent history is on the side of the Eagles. They’ve won three of their last five at the Bridge, including the last two. They also won at their place in October, on a Zaha 45th minute goal. Bakayoko scored ours in a 2-1 loss.

Both teams are feeling the pressure right now. Chelsea trail Spurs for fourth place by five points. Palace are in the relegation zone, a point behind West Brom.

Time for a Blue-tinted win.

Date / Time: Saturday, March 10, 2018, 17:30 GMT; 12:30pm EST; 11pm IST

Venue: Stamford Bridge, London, England

Referee: Anthony Taylor — if he’s not an outright good luck charm, certainly having Taylor on the whistle hasn’t hurt Chelsea in the past. In 17 games under his supervision Chelsea have won 10, drawn five and lost but twice. This season he’s worked four Chelsea matches. Among those are our wins at Tottenham and over Manchester United (why wasn’t this man at Old Trafford?) and our 1-0 loss at West Ham.

Forecast: Warm but windy. Forecast calls for a high of 15°C (59°F) with winds at 14 mph, gusting to 23 mph (a 23 mph gust will get your attention and will certainly alter the flight of the ball.)

On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK); NBCSN, Universo, Telemundo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); elsewhere

Streaming online: BT Sport Live (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); HotStar (India)

Crystal Palace team news: Emerging from the wreckage that is Palace’s lengthy injury list, one prominent name is in contention for Saturday; Wilfried Zaha, the hero of Palace’s win back in October, is back in training just five weeks after going down with a knee ligament injury.

“He was able to join in with the team today for the first time, albeit in a modified session, which is enormous progress really.

“We have to be careful because it was a serious injury and, under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t have expected him back this week. At the moment, we’re missing that enormously.

“I’ve got to make it clear: it is a remarkable recovery and we have to be very careful to make certain that, just because he can take part in two modified training sessions, he really is coming back as the Wilfried Zaha he was before the injury.

“But the initial prognosis had been that he would be back towards the end of season, rather than in just six weeks, so I would be delighted if it was possible for him to play any part on Saturday.”

-Roy Hodgson; source: Guardian

Mamadou Sakho is also back in light training, Hodgson says he probably won’t play. Two long-term injured players are back in the mix, Jeffrey Schlupp and Martin Kelly. Ruben Loftus-Cheek wouldn’t be available even if healthy of course, although he may be near full fitness again. Also out are Jason Puncheon, Connor Whickham, Johan Cabaye, Joel Ward, Scott Dann and Julian Speroni.

Chelsea team news: David Luiz is out. Reports say he’s been to Barcelona for treatment and consultation for the knee that Sergio Aguero assaulted last season, in a bid to be fit for Tottenham on April 1. Ross Barkley is out. It’s not a fresh injury, just Conte saying he must be patient in bringing back a player who’s been out for so long. Tiémoué Bakayoko has been training for the last week, Conte didn’t say one way or another if he’d be available. What Conte did say is that two players are in doubt, but he was coy about who they were. We’ll find out tomorrow.

With all of Crystal Palace’s injuries, with their six-game winless streak and with the game being at Stamford Bridge, this would seem to be an auspicious time for Conte’s men to put one in the win column.

To reinforce those happy thoughts, how about this from 2005, with Eidur Gudjohnsen brilliantly feeding Joe Cole in a 4-1 win?