Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace

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Chelsea hosts Crystal Palace on Saturday from Stamford Bridge (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as Antonio Conte‘s side aims to close the gap on the top four clubs in the Premier League.

The Blues sit five points out of Tottenham Hotspur — fourth place — while Palace is one of seven sides in the bottom half of England’s top flight firmly in the relegation race.

Good news has come for Conte and Co. though, as Chelsea gets midfielder N’Golo Kante back from injury ahead of the weekend’s fixture and next week’s crucial UEFA Champions League tie against Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Palace will be battling time as Wilfried Zaha and Mamadou Sakho are both game-time decisions for the visitors.

What they’re saying

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte on not overlooking Palace“They [Palace] lost the last couple of games. They deserved more against Tottenham and against United.

“We must pay great attention. We need to have a good performance, to get three points. We’re playing against a really good team, with talented players.”

Palace boss Roy Hodgson about Chelsea’s inconsistency“Normally when you come against a team not having the best of times, that can be a very dangerous time to play them. They have fantastic players and are a brilliantly run club, a powerful club.

“We can only hope that we can reproduce the recent performances against similar opponents, and give them as good a game as we did against Spurs and [Manchester] United.”

Prediction

The Blues may have to rotate their lineup with a vital UCL matchup with Barca upcoming, but they are still the favorites in this match. If Zaha and Sakho cannot play, things will be that much more difficult for Palace. Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace