Pre-Match Briefing: Chelsea v Crystal Palace - part two

The first traditional Saturday three o’clock kick-off of the season draws near. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton are ready with the rest of their preview… 


Chelsea are looking to extend our unbeaten home league run against Crystal Palace to 13 games.

The Eagles’ only league win at the Bridge came in the old Second Division way back in March 1982. Only 13,894 witnessed the 2-1 success for Palace, with first-half goals from Kevin Mabbutt and future Chelsea player Jerry Murphy. Alan Mayes replied in the second period for the Blues.

Chelsea old boys Steve Wicks and Tommy Langley were in the Palace line-up that day and fellow former Blue, Steve Kember, was their manager. Nine of Chelsea’s 12 who played were products of the club’s youth scheme.

Another onetime Chelsea man, Danny Granville, was in the Palace starting 11 at the Bridge on Saturday 19 March 2005. The Premier League leaders were seeking a 12th win in 13 matches but were labouring against Iain Dowie’s visitors, despite some dynamic work from Joe Cole.

The winger had excelled in the absence of Arjen Robben, who had now returned to the bench. It was another former West Ham man, Frank Lampard, who broke the ice, finding space in typical fashion outside the box and firing powerfull past goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly.

Departing from the script, Palace equalised a quarter of an hour later when the Blues failed to clear a deceptively poor Wayne Routledge corner and Aki Riihilahti’s close-range shot hit the net via Ricardo Carvalho.

Within 10 minutes of the restart Cole had restored the lead, put in by Eidur Gudjohnsen and giving Kiraly no chance. When Robben came off the bench it was for Damien Duff, not Cole, and the Dutchman had a hand in Mateja Kezman’s goal, a shot that somehow eluded the now befuddled Kiraly.

Kezman’s last-gasp second, from a loose ball in the area, concluded the scoring at 4-1.

You may enjoy the highlights of that game here.


Highlights: Crystal Palace (H) PREM 04/05

19/03/2005 Duration: 2m 36s



Other match last season

18 October 2014 Barclays Premier League

Crystal Palace...….….1    Chelsea………..……2

Campbell 90                 Oscar 6

                                  Fabregas 51

           Att: 24,451



Chelsea v Crystal Palace in all competitions

Games played   46

Chelsea wins     22

Palace wins        9

Draws              15


Head to head in the League at Stamford Bridge

Games played   18

Chelsea wins      9

Palace wins       1

Draws               8


Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team

Chelsea 6-2 Crystal Palace - 11/03/1998

Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace - 17/03/1982


Alan Pardew made nine changes for Tuesday’s extra-time Capital One Cup victory against Shrewsbury at Selhurst Park, so few strategic lessons can be drawn from that for today’s game.

Last weekend he showed tactical flexibility in a 2-1 win against Villa in which all goals came in the final 20 minutes. Crystal Palace kicked off in a 4-1-3-2 formation, but with Bakary Sako and Jason Puncheon both inclined to join Wilfried Zaha (pictured below), there was an overload on the left flank and Villa found plenty of space elsewhere with no one pressing them.

Pardew tweaked it to a 4-2-3-1 midway through the first half, but it was only after half-time, when he opted for a 4-3-3 set-up and made substitutions that the Glaziers clicked.

The extra balance was found after Jordan Mutch replaced Zaha and played right, and Dwight Gayle took up the lone striker role from a labouring Glenn Murray. Combative wideman Sako scored the winner on his debut.

The Eagles also benefited from Villa boss Tim Sherwood’s decision to swap a central midfielder for a wide player. The switch highlighted the preponderance of fast, tricky wingers in the Palace squad, though, and defending down the flanks was a Chelsea concern in the opening matches.

If Palace play balls into space behind a defensive line for a fast, powerful striker, Murray lacks killer pace but Gayle does not.

Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill are likely to occupy the heart of Chelsea defence in the absence of suspended John Terry, while new signing Baba Rahman, a left-back, offers excellent tackling as well as remarkable acceleration.

Likewise star man last Sunday, Pedro. The goalscoring debutant’s next marker is likely to be powerfully built, attack-minded left-back Pape Souare, who was caught napping by a moment of flair, then directed a cross past his own keeper last weekend. 

One on one 

Squad news

John Terry is suspended following his sending-off at West Bromwich Albion and it remains to be seen whether Oscar will return after the muscular problem that prevented his participation in the last two games, or Victor Moses against his former club who would add to Jose Mourinho’s wide midfield options.

New Palace signing Connor Wickham’s rib injury may still keep him out of contention. His fellow striker, Chelsea’s promising Patrick Bamford, who played 74 minutes in midweek against Shrewsbury, is ineligible this weekend under the terms of loan regualations.

Explosive winger Yannick Bolaise has returned to duty following the death of his father, but Mile Jedinak is out with a hamstring injury. It is unclear if either of the Glaziers’ other hamstring victims – Frazier Campbell and Marouane Chamakh – might return.

Striker Kwesi Appiah is out for nine months with an anterior cruciate injury, but veteran goalkeeper Julian Speroni, dubbed ‘untouchable’ by his manager last season, may vie for a place with Alex McCarthy, the incumbent, if he is over a finger injury.