The Champions of Europe have now conquered the World title and now are back to the home soil of England and now will face Crystal Palace in the Premier League. Chelsea are definitely high on confidence but can Patrick Viera’s men spoil the party mood?
WHERE AND WHEN?
Venue: Selhurst Park Stadium.
Date: Saturday, 19th February 2022.
Time: 16:00 (BST).
Referee: David Coote.
Assistant referee: Stuart Burt, Nick Hopton.
Fourth official: Michael Salisbury.
VAR: Michael Oliver.
Assistant VAR: Neil Davies.
Kouyate will be back for Crystal Palace after his services at the AFCON but Viera’s side will be missing Nathan Ferguson who is expected to be out till April. But the biggest loss for Palace will be of their top scorer, Conor Gallagher, who is ineligible to play against his parent club. But Guehi’s move being a permanent one will be fired up to play against his former club.
Mason Mount picked up a knock in the final of the Club World Cup and is now out for at least two weeks but as confirmed by Tuchel, Chelsea will be pushing to get their star boy fit for the Carabao Cup final and thus will be out for the game. Reece James is still not part of team training and is expected to join next week. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is back in the squad and Tuchel has confirmed that he will be in the squad.
Chelsea are back in the Premier League after almost 3 weeks as they travelled to Abu Dhabi for their Club World Cup tournament and taking home the World Champions Title. In their hindsight, they have been given a boost in the Premier League Table as the teams around them have massively dropped points and Chelsea now have a good cushion for the third spot. Their last match in the league was against London rivals, Spurs, against whom they registered a comfortable victory. But they did struggle to win against Plymouth in the FA Cup and in their two games in the Club World Cup. The positives were definitely that Chelsea did manage to win and have a title in the bag to boost their confidence. Lukaku scored two of their three goals in Abu Dhabi and now looks confident to create an impact in the league as well. They will fancy their chances to win against Crystal Palace who will be without Cobham star, Conor Gallagher.
Crystal Palace are going through a tipsy form as well, with just 3 points in their last 5 matches in the league. They will even now miss their top goal scorer who has been a very important figure for them in the midfield. They have the advantage of playing consecutive games and being match fit, compared to their opponents who have travelled a long distance and also have not played a match in England for long. Patrick Viera and Palace have shown that if they set up well to their plans, they can actually hurt the opponents and have a good chance of stealing points from this match. At their home, they would try to frustrate Chelsea by sitting back which could be a good tactic as Chelsea in their recent days have not been very productive in front of the goal.
Chelsea’s hero of the Champions League is also now Chelsea’s hero of the Club World Cup. Blues can just thank him for his two goals that have helped them earn their biggest trophies. Not just the goal, Kai was impressive in Chelsea’s visit to UAE. Tuchel is definitely impressed by the performances of the German and is now looking to build his partnership with Lukaku. Kai has helped to unlock Lukaku as he can do the dirty physical work and allow Lukaku to make runs and drift wide, the thing German loves to do. He even drops in the midfield to help to progress the ball and work on the flank with the creative player to help put in balls for Lukaku to finish. He will be high on confidence and will for sure receive huge applause from the visiting fans which just makes him the perfect candidate for Chelsea to score and help to solve the attacking saga.
With James and Mount out injured, there will not be much of Cobham magic on the pitch but Chelsea’s own star boy will be up against them after cherishing his boyhood club’s recent success. But now he will be facing them as opponents and after congratulations before the initial whistle will be prepared to get the better of them. He will miss Gallagher on the pitch but will be eager to prove the worth of Cobham players. He will have a tough task of going against Lukaku and Havertz who have been a misery for the defenders this season. Guehi will have to use his pace to prevent any through balls and nullify all of Chelsea’s attacking threats. After a great season in the Championship, he has proved why he was one of the best in the second division and in all senses is ready for the Premier League. The game could actually help him establish as he will be facing the World Champions.
Crystal Palace predicted XI: Butland; Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Kouyate, Hughes, Schlupp; Ayew, Edouard, Zaha.
Chelsea predicted XI: Mendy; Chalobah, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Kante, Jorginho, Alonso; Ziyech, Havetz, Lukaku