European champions Chelsea begin their quest to lift the Premier League trophy for the first time in five years when the host Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday (Watch live at 10 am ET, on Peacock Premium).
That’s right, Chelsea last won the Premier League in 2017 when Antonio Conte cruised to the title with a seven-point gap between themselves and everyone else. That side got 20 goals from Diego Costa as well as 16 more from Eden Hazard, and N’Golo Kante, who arrived that summer, won Premier League Player of the Year. Kante is still anchoring the midfield, now under Thomas Tuchel, but most of the rest of the co-starring cast has since moved on. As is the norm at Chelsea, they haven’t left without being replaced, and the Blues might just have the best squad — from 1 through 25 — in the entire league. Though Romelu Lukaku isn’t expected to make his (re-)debut on Saturday, he arrives from Inter Milan, for $135 million, to fill the one glaring weakness in west London.
As for Crystal Palace, there’s a new manager in charge, half of a new starting lineup and (perhaps) relegation worries in south London. When Roy Hodgson departed this summer, so too did eight first-team regulars who carried with them an abundance of experience and injuries. Perhaps the time to rebuild was a season or two ago, and that could spell trouble for new boss Patrick Vieira — at least early on — as summer signings Joachim Andersen (Lyon), Marc Guehi (Chelsea) and Conor Gallagher (Chelsea – loan) acclimate to new surroundings. There’s also the fact that more first-team contributors have departed than have arrived thus far, leaving the side shorthanded to begin the season.
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Here is everything you need to know ahead of Chelsea – Crystal Palace this Saturday with team news, odds, stream link and more.
Team news: Chelsea – Crystal Palace (INJURY REPORT)
Chelsea: OUT: Hakim Ziyech (shoulder)
Crystal Palace: OUT: Eberechi Eze (achilles), Nathan Ferguson (achilles), Michael Olise (back)
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 14, 2021
For the first time this season…
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) August 14, 2021
Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)
Chelsea (-400) | Crystal Palace (+1100) | Draw (+450)
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Nothing short of an all-time masterclass performance from Wilfried Zaha should see Chelsea struggle (or concede) against Palace. Even without Lukaku in this one, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz look primed for strong bounce-back seasons after signing (and struggling) a year ago. They’ll carry the load and give Tuchel even more selection headaches. Chelsea 3-0 Crystal Palace.
How to watch Chelsea – Crystal Palace and start time
Kickoff: 10 am ET Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium