Match Preview

Pre-Match Briefing: Chelsea vs Crystal Palace

It's an early kick-off on home soil for the Blues after successive tea-time trips in the Premier League. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton are ready for the first London derby of the season...

Chelsea, enjoying a five-game winning streak in the league and having found the net in each of the past 10 matches, host Crystal Palace, boasting the fourth-best away record in the top flight behind Liverpool, Manchester City and the Blues.

The Eagles have won five of their last eight on the road, but conversely have managed a solitary clean sheet in 13.

Four of Chelsea’s seven league victories have been achieved with a margin of two or more goals.

photo of Key Stat Key Stat

Top teams clash

Internationals take precedence over club football for the last time this year following the weekend’s fascinating fixtures, which pit Chelsea (fourth) against Palace (ninth), Leicester (third) against Arsenal (fifth), and Liverpool (first) against Manchester City (second).

If reviews of the early kick-off at Stamford Bridge happen to use the phrase ‘all a bit after the Lord Mayor’s show’, let us hope it is meant literally, and not in contrast to Tuesday’s eight-goal Champions League jamboree. The City of London’s annual grand parade sets off at 10am, two-and-a-half hours before the lunchtime kick-off at the Bridge.

Sharing eight Champions League goals

When Reece James equalised against Ajax he became Chelsea’s youngest Champions League goalscorer at 19 years and 332 days, taking the mantle from Arjen Robben. It was the first time the Blues had netted four in Europe since thrashing Arsenal in the Europa League final in May. How the club’s founding fathers would have approved of such a spectacle!

Chelsea 4-4 Ajax - UEFA Champions League (H)

Highlights from our UEFA Champions League Group Stage match v Ajax at Stamford Bridge.

It was Chelsea's second 4-4 draw in Champions League history – and Frank Lampard has now been involved in both of them at the Bridge. Back in April 2009 he scored twice in a thrilling, nerve-wracking quarter-final against Liverpool. The midfielder was involved in yet another eight-goal epic in the league at home to Villa on Boxing Day 2007, but limped off after 26 minutes when it was 1-0.

The 4-4 scoreline has happened more times throughout Chelsea’s history than you might imagine. In July 1929, a Rio newspaper dubbed host club Corinthians ‘the team of the turn’ after a friendly at Palmeiras’ stadium in which the Pensioners led 3-0, then trailed 3-4, before striker Sid Elliot levelled (aged 21).

Chelsea's 4-4 draws
Ajax HChampions League group stage05/11/2019
Liverpool HChampions League quarter-final14/04/2009
Tottenham APremier League19/03/2008
Aston Villa HPremier League26/12/2007
Oxford Utd ADivision One19/03/1988
Sheff Wed ALeague Cup quarter-final replay30/01/1985
Burnley ADivision One11/03/1961
Preston NE HDivision One22/08/1959
Portsmouth ADivision One31/12/1955
Derby AFA Cup round 310/01/1953
Man City HDivision One03/02/1937
Portsmouth HDivision One07/09/1932

Andriy Shevchenko scoring against Aston Villa in a Boxing Day classic

The pride of London

Frank Lampard’s side are currently top dogs in the Smoke as far as the Premier League goes: handily placed six points above Arsenal, eight ahead of Palace, and 10 clear of Tottenham.

Surprisingly, this is our first local derby of 2019/20. The Blues have won six of the last eight home league games against the Eagles.

London mini-league 2019/20
Crystal Palace3111-34
West Ham1001-10

The Blues have won the past five capital clashes at the Bridge, and three on the spin home or away – the club’s best spell since five in a row between October and December 2014.

London mini-league since 1992/93
West Ham213674898-842491.17
Crystal P99232353-66920.93

Champions League and FA Cup catch-up

Valencia, currently 13th in La Liga, host sixth-placed Granada this weekend. After the FIFA break they journey to Real Betis ahead of our Champions League meeting on Wednesday 27 November.

Among the 78 clubs contesting round one of the FA Cup this weekend are Hayes and Yeading United, coached by the Blues’ 1997 cup-winning squad player Paul Hughes. The seventh-tier side host League One Oxford United on Sunday.  

Paul Hughes in action at Portsmouth during our victorious 1997 FA Cup run

Jorginho blow

Just as Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic were forging a pairing far greater than the sum of its parts, the midfield catalyst accrued a fifth booking and is suspended today. He is the first banned Blue since Marcos Alonso in April 2018.

At Watford, Jorginho once again managed an accuracy rate of 90 per cent, with seven of his 11 long passes finding the right shirt, including a pass of the season contender for Tammy Abraham’s opener. Kova was even more impressive, with 95 per cent in passing and 11 of his 12 longer passes finding a teammate.

Both showed their mettle again on Tuesday against Ajax, with the Italy midfielder keeping his cool to dispatch two crucial penalty goals. His absence against Palace is softened by N’Golo Kante’s return to fitness – the World Cup winner was on the bench on Tuesday.

N'Golo Kante during the warm-up on Tuesday

Jorginho is one of six players punished this campaign for reaching five cautions before the end of the 18th match (which in the Blues’ case is Tottenham on 22 December). Palace’s Luka Milivojevic is out on his own with six yellows at the moment.

Most Premier League cautions
Luka MilivojevicCrystal Palace6
Jose HolebasWatford5
Jefferson LermaBournemouth5
Danny RoseTottenham5
Ashley YoungManchester Utd5

Three teams Chelsea have to face over the coming weeks have an important player one caution away from a ban: Philip Billing (Bournemouth), Issa Diop (West Ham), and Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).

Chelsea player Premier League cautions
(20) Jorginho 5, Alonso 3, Abraham 2, Christensen 2, Tomori 2, Hudson-Odoi 1, Kante 1, Kovacic 1, Mount 1, Willian 1, Zouma 1.

Abraham at the double

Tammy Abraham has scored nine goals in the 13 top-flight appearances he has made for Chelsea since 2016. Should he find the net on Saturday, he would become the second-youngest Blues player to reach double figures in the Premier League after Arjen Robben. Only Diego Costa (nine) and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (11) will have done so in fewer games. The striker will need no reminder that he scored his first ever Premier League goal away to Palace for Swansea in August 2017.

Premier League leading scorers

Jamie Vardy 10
Tammy Abraham 9
Sergio Aguero 9
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 8
Raheem Sterling 7

When the Eagles crash-landed

Despite the possible absence of central midfielder James McArthur, Crystal Palace are likely to retain the 4-5-1 that earned a 2-2 draw at Arsenal, with top scorer Jordan Ayew again the target man.

That result contributed towards Roy Hodgson’s team enjoying their best start since 2015/16. Midway through that campaign they were fifth, and on a run of one loss in nine games, when an underperforming Chelsea side traveled to Selhurst Park on 3 January and won 3-0.

REWIND - Big Win At Palace In 2016!

Remember this one? Take a look back at a big win over London rivals Crystal Palace back in 2016. Let's have some more of this this weekend!

The loss appeared to knock the Glaziers’ confidence to such a degree that their next three-point haul did not come until April, and they eventually finished 15th.

So far this season Palace have beaten Manchester United and drawn with Arsenal, but conceded two or more goals in each of their past three matches, including last weekend’s 2-0 loss at home to Leicester. They have yet to score in the opening half-hour of any league match on the road this season.

Coming up

- The Blues’ first action after the international break will be a trip to Manchester City, who have a crunch match at Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.

- Emma Hayes’ WSL leaders host Manchester United on Sunday 17 November. Tickets are on general sale.

- Ed Brand’s unbeaten Under-18s face a run of three successive London derbies, starting with an 11am start at Tottenham on Saturday. The youngsters then entertain Arsenal and league leaders Fulham at home.

Gary’s back

Gary Cahill won eight trophies at Chelsea, scoring 25 goals in the process. He and David Luiz formed the centre-back pairing at Emirates in September 2016 before Antonio Conte added Cesar Azpilicueta to make a back three that changed everything. Apart from one appearance by his present successor, Kurt Zouma, that was the trio until the title was secured, and Sheffield-born Cahill became the first Yorkshireman to skipper a team to the championship for 80 years. Welcome home to him and Patrick van Aanholt.

Gary Cahill's return to Stamford Bridge🙌

Gary Cahill is set to make his return to Stamford Bridge this weekend🙌

Remembering the victims of war

As this is the closest home match to Remembrance Day, Stamford Bridge will be asked to observe a minute’s silence prior to kick-off as an act of respect to all those who have died in wars. A money collection for the British Legion will also be held outside the ground.

Premier League fixtures

Norwich v Watford 8pm (Sky)

Chelsea v Crystal Palace 12.30pm (BT)
Burnley v West Ham 3pm
Newcastle v Bournemouth 3pm
Southampton v Everton 3pm
Tottenham v Sheffield United 3pm
Leicester v Arsenal 5.30pm (Sky)

Manchester United v Brighton 2pm
Wolves v Aston Villa 2pm (Sky)
Liverpool v Manchester City 4.30pm (Sky)

Premier League table

Premier League 2019/2020
2Manchester City382639102356781
3Manchester United381812866363066
5Leicester City381881267412662
6Tottenham Hotspur3816111161471459
7Wolverhampton Wanderers381514951401159
9Sheffield United381412123939054
13Newcastle United381111163858-2044
14Crystal Palace381110173150-1943
16West Ham United38109194962-1339
17Aston Villa3898214167-2635
20Norwich City3856272675-4921

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