It’s going to be hard to follow Tuesday’s extraordinary 4-4 draw against Ajax Amsterdam, but Chelsea will undoubtedly settle for something a bit less dramatic against Crystal Palace, especially if it results in us collecting all three points.
It will be the final game before the final international break of the calendar year, and sending the squad off on a good note to then hopefully not get hurt in all the FIFA-mandated uselessness will be of utmost importance. While all eyes will be on the massive Liverpool vs. Manchester City title race six-pointer, Chelsea’s focus will be on keeping pace in the top four race.
Helpful in that regard should be the return of N’Golo Kanté, who was fit for the bench against Ajax, but should now have an obvious need to play with Jorginho suspended after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season last weekend. Andreas Christensen should also be back, but it’s unclear if either Ross Barkley or Mason Mount will be fit to play. Barkley has been out for most of the month, while Mount picked up another ankle knock on Tuesday. He recovered without missing any games last time that happened, but it’s unclear how bad it might be this time. Antonio Rüdiger remains out indefinitely, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek is still weeks, if not months away.