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

Boxing Day +1

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

This game will take us to the official halfway point of the 2023-24 Premier League season: 19 down, 19 to go.

If we manage to win, we will have 25 points, and thus be on pace for 50 — six points better off than last season’s historic(ly bad) campaign. If we don’t win, we will be on pace for 44, matching last season’s total. One extra win per half-season is an improvement, technically, but not exactly a soul-stirring one.

On the plus side, we haven’t gotten worse — though, fun fact, the only time we’ve had fewer points in a 38-game Premier League season at the halfway mark was in 2015-16 (20; we had 26 last season).

So ... yay!

Date / Time: Wednesday, December 27, 2023, 19.30 GMT; 2:30pm EST; 1am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Michael Salisbury (on pitch); Chris Kavanagh (VAR) — first Chelsea (men’s) game for Salisbury
Forecast: windy, rainy

On TV: none (UK); none (USA); Star Sports HD1 (India); SuperSport MaXimo 1, Canal+ Sport 4 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Amazon Prime (UK); Peacock (USA); Hotstar (India); SuperSport GOtv (NGA)

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

Chelsea team news: Another setback thanks especially to the manner of defeat at Molineux on Sunday has left us in a rut once again, going nowhere fast nor anytime soon — though we have managed to put together a decent run of results at home: five unbeaten, with three wins and two draws, including the entertaining 4-4 against Manchester City and the dramatic 1-1 against Newcastle United in the League Cup that was settled in our favor on penalties. We have a good chance to keep that streak going as some semblance of consistency, with no good team on the home slate until the spring.

Of course, expecting consistency from this team about anything other than inconsistency or injuries may be a futile endeavor. And I only say “may” to retain at least a shred of possibly faux optimism.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Speaking of injuries, Enzo Fernández will miss his second straight after going nearly all of 2023 without missing a game and Lesley Ugochukwu’s back on the injury list after his hamstring gave out an hour into a forced start due to Moisés Caicedo’s absence through illness on Sunday. Caicedo should be back at least.

It’s gotten so bad that Chelsea didn’t even bother posting an official injury update on the official website. Apparently even the update itself is now undergoing its rehabilitation programme, just as Wesley Fofana, Reece James, Marc Cucurella, Ben Chilwell, Robert Sánchez, Carney Chukwuemeka, and Trevoh Chalobah are.

Noni Madueke and Roméo Lavia were both back on the bench on Sunday though only the former got to play — and will be needed once again as Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer both managed to get suspended for yellow card accumulation. Picking up fifth yellows of the season for silly things like diving and kicking the ball away? Proper Chels!

Crystal Palace v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Crystal Palace team news: After a good start to the campaign, Palace’s season has gone off the rails. They’re winless in seven (3 draws, 4 defeats) and have just one game in the last two months (and just two since the September international break) won just two games in all competitions since September. That should fill me with confidence, but instead, it just fills me with trepidation. Palace have drawn their last two away games, 1-1 at West Ham and 2-2 at Manchester City.

Cheick Doucouré, Joel Ward, Sam Johnstone, Jesurun Rak-Sakyi, Rob Holding, and Odsonne Édouard have been ruled out due to long-injuries.

Palace are the second lowest-scoring team in the league (with 18) but have conceded fewer than we have (26 vs. 28). This might turn into yet another slogfest if we don’t break the deadlock early.

Previously: We haven’t lost to Palace since 2017 and they’not won at the Bridge since earier that same season. That’s twelve straight wins for us (11 in the league, 1 in the FA Cup). Lucky number thirteen in this one? This fixture last season was decided by a solitary Kai Havertz goal.

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