Premier League football returns this weekend with the last international break before the World Cup concludes this week. Graham Potter’s Chelsea takes the short trip to Selhurst Park as they face Crystal Palace in the English manager’s first Premier League game as the new head coach.
The Blues find themselves in 7th place heading into the game having won 3 of their 6 games so far with a game in hand. They have had a shaky start to their season with the sacking of Thomas Tuchel adding to the woes. Graham Potter has had more than 20 days with his side to implement his tactics and game style to get his side ready for the hectic schedule which awaits them over the next two weeks with a doubleheader in the Champions League against AC Milan coming up which would seal the Blues’ fate in the European competition after a winless start.
Patrick Viera’s high-flying Eagles had one of the toughest fixtures to start the season with games against Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester City in their first 6 games. They are currently 16th in the league and would want to gain some momentum and get their season going with no wins in their last 3 outings. The game against Chelsea provides Viera a great opportunity to get an infamous win as the Eagles remain winless in their last 9 games against Chelsea with their last win coming in 2017.
When and Where?
Date: 1st October 2022.
Time: 14:00 HRS BST.
Venue: Selhurst Park.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.
Assistant Referees: Dan Cook, Dan Robathan.
Fourth Official: Craig Pawson.
VAR: Stuart Atwell.
Assistant VAR: Scott Ledger.
Crystal Palace will be without James Tomkins and Nathan Ferguson for the London derby as the duo recover from a calf and ankle injury respectively. James McArthur and Jack Butland are expected to return to first-team action and be available for the match having recovered from their respective injuries. Michael Olise could get the nod ahead of Jordan Ayew after the Englishman was a substitute in the Eagles’ last match against Newcastle United.
Graham Potter will be without his no.1 goalkeeper Edouard Mendy as the Senegalese shot-stopper recovers from a knee injury that kept him out of the Blues’ last fixture against RB Salzburg in the Champions League. N’golo Kante has returned to light first-team training but is expected to not be a part of the traveling squad as the game might come too early.
Chelsea have had the same problems as last season with their attack misfiring yet again. The Blues have scored just 7 goals in 6 games which compared to their rivals Liverpool (15 goals), Arsenal (17 goals), Spurs (18 goals), and Manchester City (23 goals) isn’t what the Chelsea faithful would have expected after the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling. Potter’s key priorities will be to find ways of converting the chances his side creates to start winning games and instill confidence in the attacking players
The 47-year-old’s first game in charge was against RB Salzburg which provided some insight into how Chelsea would tactically set up. Despite the frustrating 1-1 draw, it was a great sight watching the Blues play possession-based attacking football and were unlucky to not come away with all 3 points. The game against Crystal Palace comes after 26 days since the Salzburg game giving Potter enough time to work more with his side.
Crystal Palace have been shaky defensively having shipped in 9 goals so far this season. Considering they have faced three of the Big Six teams already this season it doesn’t entirely reflect their performances this season. The Eagles were excellent in their previous outing against Newcastle United which ended in a 0-0 draw. The absence of Conor Gallagher who will play against the Eagles during the game has been a major absence for Viera this season. His creativity and pressing ability to win the ball in the final third helped Palace to press higher and hurt opponents.
Eberechi Eze has been playing the Gallagher no.8 role this season and has looked far from convincing. Being a natural winger, Eze is still finding his feet in his new role which demands a very high work rate both offensively and defensively. Facing a Chelsea side who are undergoing a transitional phase could be the perfect opportunity for the Eagles to get all 3 points against their London neighbours. From a neutral perspective, it will be an exciting tactical encounter as two young coaches go head to head.
The 27-year-old has been the standout performer of his side so far this season with 4 goals and 1 assist in all competitions. The Englishman has scored thrice in the Premier League and is averaging a non-penalty xG of 0.47 so far this season. He has made the most touches for his side in the opposition’s penalty box with the winger averaging 8.19 touches. Sterling’s direct style of play to take on his defender one-on-one and make things happen in the final third could be crucial to Graham Potter’s Blues who would be playing against a Crystal Palace side who have opted to defend deeper against the big teams.
The Ivory Coast international has been his side’s talisman this season much like Raheem Sterling with 4 goals in the league which contributes to 57% of his side’s goals. He is averaging 0.44 non-penalty goals, 2.30 dribbles completed per 90, and 7.31 progressive carries per 90. Palace are expected to pose a threat on the counter to the Chelsea defence and Zaha’s ball carrying and dribbling abilities will be crucial for his side during transitions.
Crystal Palace predicted lineup vs Chelsea: Guaita, Mitchell, Andersen, Guehi, Ward, Schlupp, Doucoure, Eze, Zaha, Mateta, Olise.
Chelsea predicted lineup vs Crystal Palace: Kepa, Fofana, Koulibaly, Cucurella, Chilwell, Kovacic, Loftus Cheek, James, Mount, Sterling, Havertz.