Everything you need to know ahead of the Premier League clash at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon
Chelsea are heading to a London derby after the international break as they travel to bottom of the table Crystal Palace on Saturday.
elPalace haven’t scored a goal yet this season and have zero points on the board with Roy Hodgson hoping to end their dismal run of bad form this season.
Antonio Conte’s side have picked up a number injuries lately and were recently well beaten by Manchester City at Stamford Bridge. However, it is still a huge ask for Palace to come away from this match against the Premier League champions with any points.
Alvaro Morata is almost certain to miss out against Palace on Saturday as he recovers from a hamstring injury. The striker is in contention to make the weekday fixture against AS Roma but his condition is being continually monitored.
N’Golo Kante has torn a muscle in his thigh which will see him out for a number of weeks as the Blues face being without a player who has been ever-present for over a year.
Danny Drinkwater is still doubtful, although he is nearing full recovery from a calf injury. Chelsea have otherwise come out of the international break unscathed.
Baba Rahman remains at Stamford Bridge but isn’t part of the club’s Premier League or European squad due to a knee injury. He is expected to return in late October or early November.
Chelsea have no suspensions for the match against Palace as David Luiz returns from a three match ban after getting sent off against Arsenal a month ago.
He also suffered a fractured wrist during that match against the Gunners but has continued full training and can play through the injury for his side’s upcoming matches.
POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
David Luiz is likely to return for Andreas Christensen who has been deputising in his absence. Michy Batshuayi will likely come in for Morata but Chelsea could also opt to use Eden Hazard in a central role with Willian and Pedro accompanying him.
Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko will likely start in place of Kante, who faces a rare spell on the sidelines. Conte faces a selection dilemma in defence but he will most likely choose the experienced trio of Gary Cahill, Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Chelsea’s 3-4-3 remains the club’s primary formation after Conte won the title with the system last season. They have also lined up in the 3-5-2 formation against the likes of Man City, Atletico Madrid and Tottenham.
CRYSTAL PALACE TEAM NEWS
Crystal Palace haven’t scored in the league yet this season and their woes could continue with their only two strikers in Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham out injured.
Bakary Sako is typically a midfielder but he will likely continue to play up front and he’s the only player to score for Palace this season after netting in the cup.
Wilfred Zaha remains injured and unlikely to play, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is unavailable due to the terms of his loan move from Chelsea. James Tomkins and Scott Dann missed out Palace’s last match which saw the side lose 4-0 to Manchester United; both could be in line to return for the Champions’ visit.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
Chelsea (421) have won more points in Premier League London derbies than any other side in the competition’s history (P232 W119 D64 L49).
Crystal Palace are currently on the second longest run in minutes without scoring from the start of the season in Football League history (630 minutes) – only Halifax Town in the fourth tier in 1990-91 (730 minutes) had a longer wait to score.
Crystal Palace could become the first team in Football League history to lose nine consecutive games without scoring – on only three other occasions have a team lost eight games in a row without scoring and only once in the top-flight (Sunderland between November 1976 and January 1977).
Chelsea have failed to score in two of their last three Premier League matches under Antonio Conte, as many as in their previous 36. The Blues only failed to score in three of their 38 PL games last season and have already drawn a blank in two of their seven so far this term.
Roy Hodgson could become only the second permanent manager to lose his first four Premier League games in charge of a side without scoring a single goal after his predecessor Frank De Boer. Prior to this season, no permanent Premier League manager had lost their first four without scoring at a club.
TV CHANNEL & KICK OFF TIME
The match isn’t being televised live in the UK. The kick off is at 15:00 BST on Saturday.