Chelsea face dangerous Palace in bid to bounce back from poor Baggies draw
Chelsea to win 3-1
West Brom very nearly pulled off the shock of the season last weekend, almost holding on after taking a 3-0 lead at half time.
Chelsea will take some credit for their second half performance in which they drew back level in the 93rd minute, but really they were awful and West Brom were unlucky not to take three points. New signing Thiago Silva was at fault for at least one of the goals – he is better than that showing, but will need to improve.
Crystal Palace, for the most part, have been great entertainment value in their three matches so far, winning two of them against Manchester United and Southampton.
Their forward players have been as quick and exciting as any in the league, and on the counterattack can gave any defence a run for their money.
Chelsea again will be favourites to win, but Palace will be able to capitalise on any errors.
Form Guide (all comps): WLWL
Reasons to be cheerful:
Frank Lampard will demand a strong response
Won their last five meetings against Palace
Reasons to be fearful:
Defence looks ragged and Lampard doesn’t know who to trust
Timo Werner still waiting for first league goal
Many fans would have stared in disbelief at the halftime scoreline against West Brom last weekend.
Goal after goal going into the back of Chelsea’s net following mistake after mistake from their defence, their new signing Thiago Silva at fault after letting the ball run under his feet, and Marcos Alonso also poor.
Manager Lampard must have blasted his players at half time, because they were much better in the second half, particularly the younger players like Mount and Hudson-Odoi who dragged them back into contention for a point.
That result showed there is still much improvement needed from Chelsea, with Lampard showing in his team selection that he probably doesn’t know his best XI players yet.
That defence will be tested again against Palace, who can break with pace and test any weaknesses.
Chelsea, and Lampard, will expect a big response after last weekend, and need a win here.
Star Man – Mason Mount
The 21-year old was terrific in Chelsea’s comeback last week – he’s developed into a key player for Lampard
Predicted 2020/21 finish: WLWL
Reasons to be cheerful
Have impressed so far, winning two of three matches
Wilf Zaha is in exceptional form with three from three
Reasons to be fearful
Poor recent record against Chelsea
Defensive injuries starting to mount up
As Palace showed Manchester United a couple of weeks ago, if there are any weaknesses to be exploited, particularly in defence, The Eagles have the players to do it.
They were electric on that occasion and key player Wilf Zaha has started the season in great form, with three goals in three games.
Chelsea’s style of play will give Palace opportunities to break on them – if they play to their strengths and attack Chelsea with the same purpose as they did Man United, they could have real success this weekend.
Unfortunately for Palace, it is their defence which will give Chelsea optimism. They are a little short in this area following several injuries to top players, including Cahill and van Aanholt who are out and Scott Dann who is a doubt for this weekend.
They must improve their record against Chelsea and have the players to do so, but Chelsea will be favourites.
Star Man – Wilf Zaha
Although he has looked to leave Palace in the past, Zaha has always given his all for the club and is in exceptional goalscoring form.
Chelsea to show improvement over last weekend
Palace will have chances to test Chelsea’s defence
Chelsea’s Abraham a good shout to get on the scoresheet
Chelsea will be desperate not to go three league games without a win, after losing to Liverpool and drawing to West Brom. It’s early days, but they’ll need more consistency than that to reach the top four again.
Tammy Abraham led the line well last weekend, and sat out the midweek cup game against Spurs, so is likely to return against Palace. He looked sharp and could grab a goal this weekend.
Palace’s forwards must combine well and make the most of any opportunities Chelsea’s defence present them. If they press like they’ve done so far this season, they could have some joy.
Chelsea are rightly favourites, but it should be a good game.
Chelsea to win 3-1