Preview: Chelsea v Crystal Palace

Chelsea will look to continue their romp to the English Premier League title when they face in-form Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Premier League
1 April 2017
Game week 30
Kick-off: 15:00 (BST)
Venue: Stamford Bridge

Referee: C. Pawson
Assistants: S. Ledger, I. Hussin
Fourth official: A. Marriner

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Chelsea 30 17 9 4
Crystal Palace 30 4 9 17

Previous encounter:

Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea 17 December 2016 (Premier League)

Chelsea goalscorer: Diego Costa (43′)

Players to watch:

After Eden Hazard recovered from an ankle injury, the flying winger will no doubt be fit and energised after he sat out of Belgium’s last two matches with the knock. With many of Chelsea’s squad returning from exhausting international duty, the 26-year-old will be the exception as he’ll likely be fresh, rested and raring to go.

Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey will be a confident man after having put together three clean sheets in a row, and making a number of good saves in those matches. Manager Sam Allardyce has rejuvenated the Eagles defence with his keeper pivotal, and Chelsea’s star-studded attack will surely give Hennessey and his back four a stern test on Saturday.

Team form and manager quotes:

Despite his side being overwhelming favourites against Palace, manager Antonio Conte is not taking the visitors for granted. He told reporters, “They have a lot of great players – (Christian) Benteke is a top player, the same with (Wilfried) Zaha. (Andros) Townsend is another player I like a lot, (Yohan) Cabaye, (Jason) Puncheon, a lot of great players.”

Meanwhile, Allardyce weighed in on in form Wilfried Zaha’s decision to play for Ivory Coast instead of England. He said of his star performer, “Zaha is improving his game, maturing in his game, because of his experience over the years, but also the experience he’ll gain at playing international football as well as playing for Palace.”

Team news:

Thibaut Courtois, Diego Costa and Victor Moses are all doubtful for Chelsea after picking up knocks.

For Palace, Patrick van Aanholt is out with an ankle concern while Fraizer Campbell and James McArthur are doubtful.

Blues loanee Loic Remy cannot play against his parent club although Mathieu Flamini is back into contention after recovering from a muscle strain.

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