Chelsea’s performances have swung wildly from worst of the season to best of the season in the span of just few days, so it’s anyone’s guess which version might show up Monday night at Selhurst Park, where we take on somewhat struggling Crystal Palace.
In fact, this game will feature the two managers with the shortest odds in the Premier League sack race, though Mauricio Pochettino appears to have bought himself time to the end of the season to prove that he’s the right man for this job. Roy Hodgson may not have that luxury.
Four of our next five games in the Premier League are away, including trips to Manchester City and Arsenal. If we are to have any hope of climbing up the table a bit, and maybe still challenge for a top-six or top-seven position (conceivably spots that get you into Europe), these are the points we must pick up — and the standards set against Villa the standards we need to maintain.
Date / Time: Monday, February 12, 2024, 20.00 GMT; 3pm EST; 1:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Selhurst Park, London
Forecast: Cool and breezy
Referee: Michael Oliver (on pitch); Andy Madley (VAR)
On pitch: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); USA, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport Premier League (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Crystal Palace team news: Palace have been dealt some major injury blows in the last couple weeks, losing Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze, and captain Marc Guéhi for at least the next few games. The trio join Cheick Doucouré, Rob Holding, and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi on the sidelines while right back Joel Ward faces a late fitness test.
Olise and Eze had been carrying the team, scoring seven of Palace’s last eight goals between the two of them, though (still-)leading goalscorer Odsonee Édouard recently returned from his own injury while Jean-Philippe Mateta got their consolation goal in the 4-1 hammering received from Brighton last weekend.
Palace have just two wins in the last three months in all competitions, but they’ve only lost one game at home by more than one goal. It’s never easy at Selhurst Park.
Chelsea team news: Levi Colwill has returned to training after missing our last four games, but now fellow center back Benoît Badiashile’s looking at some time out after picking up a groin injury midweek. He joins long-term absentees Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, Roméo Lavia, Robert Sánchez, and Lesley Ugochukwu on the sidelines. Trevoh Chalobah could be ready to get back in the team as well, having been close for several weeks now.
Mauricio Pochettino tweaked his standard setup a bit against Aston Villa on Wednesday, opting to play two (!) actual full backs (Ben Chilwell and Malo Gusto both completing the full-90), fully committing to our £200m pivot of Enzo Fernández and Moisés Caicedo, and deploying Nicolas Jackson on the left wing (with Cole Palmer and Conor Gallagher going through the middle). These moves seemed to pay immediate dividends, and Pochettino spoke specifically of the latter as something he knows fits Jackson “better”. Perhaps we’ll see it more often going forward!
Previously: Chelsea have won thirteen (13!) in a row against Palace since losing 2-1 at Selhurst Park in 2017. Back in late December, Noni Madueke saved the day by winning and converting a penalty in the final minutes to give us a 2-1 victory at Bridge. Mykhailo Mudryk scored, too!