James McArthur

Getty Images

PL Preview: Chelsea v. Crystal Palace

Leave a comment
  • Crystal Palace has won 2 of 17 PL fixtures at Chelsea
  • Chelsea has not won 6 straight PL matches since 2017
  • Palace has 8 PL away wins in 2019, third most in the league

A suddenly dilapidated midfield threatens to halt Frank Lampard‘s good form as Chelsea hosts Crystal Palace on Saturday at Stamford Bridge, with kickoff set for 7:30 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE HERE

Chelsea’s midfield is banged up, with anchor Jorginho suspended for yellow card accumulation while N’Golo Kante has yet to return from a nagging ankle problem and Mason Mount‘s status is questionable after hobbling off in pain against Ajax midweek. Kante was an unused substitute against Ajax and could be in contention to start in place of Jorginho, but it has been a month since his last appearance and the French international has made just three league starts all year. In addition, Ross Barkley was confirmed to miss the match as the midfield continues to lose bodies.

Still, that seems the only thing in the way of the Blues at the moment, with the club riding high after its wild Champions League comeback midweek that saw them erase a 4-1 second-half deficit and very nearly find the winning stroke. With five straight wins in Premier League play on top of that, this Chelsea team is firing on all cylinders. They have scored 13 goals in those five league victories, and have scored 19 goals in eight matches across all competitions since the start of October.

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace has struggled through a brutal October schedule and hopes the turn to November will lift its fortunes. The Eagles have failed to win over its last three league games, with losses to Manchester City and Leicester City plus a draw with Arsenal. Now Palace draws Chelsea on the road before a home date with Liverpool rounds out an absolutely ruthless five-game stretch.

Still, Roy Hodgson has maintained a top ten standing despite the rut, with the club currently sitting ninth on 15 points, two ahead of Manchester United in 10th. The boss will take charge of his 300th Premier League game at Stamford Bridge, becoming the 15th person and sixth Englishman to reach that milestone.

Injuries/suspensions:

Chelsea: OUT – Jorginho (suspended), Antonio Rudiger (hip), Ross Barkley (knock), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Achilles). QUESTIONABLE – Mason Mount (ankle), N’Golo Kante (ankle).

Crystal Palace: QUESTIONABLE – Andros Townsend (muscle), Gary Cahill (head), Cheikhou Kouyate (head), James McArthur (back).


Projected Lineups

Chelsea: Kepa; Emerson, Tomori, Zouma, Azpilicueta; Kante, Kovacic, Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic, Willian; Abraham.

Crystal Palace: Guaita; van Aanholt, Cahill, Tomkins, Ward; Milivojevic, Kouyate, McCarthy; Zaha, Ayew, Schlupp.


What they’re saying

Chelsea manager Lampard on Ajax draw: “There weren’t too many negatives. Some were freakish and some were on us, goals we don’t like to concede. To come back and to draw the game, we should take the positives. The fans were great. It starts with us.”

Palace boss Hodgson on Lampard: “Frank Lampard has done a very good job, there is no question about that. The club have (also) done a good job in encouraging the manager and his staff to blood some of the players that had previously been out on loan. Everyone at the club deserves a pat on the back for that.”


Prediction

Chelsea is in good form, but injuries have them a bit out of sorts, and the defensive performance against Ajax was a complete disaster. It’s been that way all season long in Premier League play, with just two clean sheets on the top flight season. Eventually, this will come back to haunt them, and with Mason Mount potentially out, those issues could combine to spell defeat. Meanwhile, Crystal Palace has shown well against good Premier League sides the last few weeks, and they are nearing a big result. The Eagles will bag an upset at Stamford Bridge with an impressive 2-1 win that gets Crystal Palace the signature win it has searched for over this brutal stretch of games, while leaving Frank Lampard with some defensive adjustments to make over the international break.

PL Club Power Rankings: Week 11

1 Comment

A new last place side and the potential for movement at the top, of course, as the Premier League anticipates a weekend with swing matches all over the fixture list.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

It starts with a relegation swinger between Norwich City and Watford, and ends with Sunday’s hotly-anticipated visit of Manchester City to Liverpool.

Let’s say where they all sit right now.

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low


20. Norwich City — Two goals in six matches since beating Man City, both in the 87th minute or later of blowout losses. Battle stations for Friday against an improved Hornets side.
Last week: 19
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Brighton
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday v. Watford

19. Southampton — Impressive enough while under duress, and a decent bounce back after the Leicester humiliation.
Last week: 20
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Everton

18. Watford — Moral victories aren’t worth three points, and the improved Hornets are six points back of safety. Friday is a must.
Last week: 20
Season high: 18
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Chelsea
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday at Norwich City

17. West Ham United — Is this an institutional issue? Because Manuel Pellegrini is a heck of a coach and the talent here is deep. Lukasz Fabianski can’t come back soon enough.
Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 3-2 v. Newcastle United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

16. Burnley — Three-straight losses heading into an all-Claret visit to West Ham.
Last week: 12
Season high: 5
Season low: 16
Last match: Lost 3-0 at Sheffield United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. West Ham United

15. Newcastle United — Over-performing their talent, yeah, and Allan Saint-Maximin is worth the price of admission. A win at home over Bournemouth would ease a lot of concerns.
Last week: 17
Season high: 15
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 3-2 at West Ham United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth

14. Tottenham Hotspur — Their display versus Everton was the definition of underwhelming.
Last week: 10
Season high: 2
Season low: 14
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Everton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Sheffield United

13. Everton — So much better than their record. We’re all pulling for Andre Gomes, who might be a big loss in addition to the emotions involved.
Last week: 16
Season high: 5
Season low: 16
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Saints

12. Brighton and Hove Albion — Graham Potter is getting results, and some buys in January might make the Seagulls a good bet for midtable.
Last week: 15
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Norwich City
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Manchester United

11. Aston Villa — Dean Smith will be furious with his men for another late capitulation, even if it was against Liverpool.
Last week: 8
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Liverpool
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Wolves

10. Arsenal — Free Nicolas Pepe.
Last week: 8
Season high: 4
Season low: 10
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Wolves
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Leicester City

9. Manchester United — This team badly needs Paul Pogba back. And he’s not coming any time soon.
Last week: 7
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Bournemouth
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Brighton and Hove Albion

8. Crystal Palace — Wilfried Zaha‘s goal-scoring drought sure could use ending, but how about a nod to James McArthur‘s exceptional early season?
Last week: 5
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Leicester City
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Chelsea

7. Bournemouth —  Diego Rico and Philip Billing have been very impressive when the Cherries are at their best.
Last week: 13
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Man Utd
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Newcastle United

6. Wolves — Four points from the Europa League places despite a highly-suspect start to the season. No one wants Wolves on their schedule. Now if they could get back to playing well against teams that are not the big boys.
Last week: 11
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Arsenal
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Aston Villa

5. Sheffield United — The advanced stats say the Blades are riding their luck, but we’re enjoying the journey.
Last week: 5
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 3-0 v. Burnley
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Spurs

4. Leicester City — Those same advanced stats say Leicester has been really fortunate, but like Steve McQueen in “Papillon,” they are still here.
Last week: 4
Season high: 3
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 2-0 at Crystal Palace
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Arsenal

3. Chelsea — A forgiving run of schedules opened the door to Christian Pulisic and Co., and they’ve taken the door off its hinges and set it on fire. City in two weeks.
Last week: 2
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 2-1 at Watford
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Crystal Palace

2. Manchester City — No pressure, Pep, but Liverpool can take the title off you with all three points on Sunday.
Last week: 3
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Southampton
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Liverpool

1. Liverpool — Showtime, Jurgen.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 at Aston Villa
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Man City

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 10

Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tottenham Hotspur, we’re angry with you.

No, not because you’ve floundered after we had you pegged as the team best able to provide a third entrant to the Premier League title race, but, well…

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

…You’re making our power rankings way too difficult.

Spurs, on one hand, have drawn last place Watford, barely beat Southampton, and lost to Newcastle and Brighton.

On the other, they’ve hung tight enough with Liverpool, Leicester City, and Man City, drawn Arsenal, and bashed decent-looking Villa and Palace.

It doesn’t just make it challenging to place Spurs on this table, it makes it challenging to evaluate the quality of other teams’ results against them!

Alas, we’ll try. Because it’s our job. That’s why.

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low


20. Southampton — Nine goals allowed at home. Which repercussion was more harsh on Saints, the players and staff donating their wages to charity, or consecutive matches away to Man City.
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 9-0 v. Leicester City
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Man City

19. Norwich City — Their seven losses are the most in the league, and they need to find something from two-straight winnable matches (Brighton, Watford).
Last week: 19
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-1 v. Manchester United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Brighton

18. Watford — Improving, to be sure, but probably looking past a Chelsea visit to next week’s trip to Norwich City.
Last week: 20
Season high: 18
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Bournemouth
Up next: 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Chelsea

17. Newcastle United — Losing Sean Longstaff to a red card against a West Ham midfield which can handle itself at home is a problem.
Last week: 17
Season high: 15
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Wolves
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at West Ham


16. Everton — A proper contender against contenders, but Marco Silva‘s men bring significantly less focus and intensity when the opposition is lesser.
Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 16
Last match: Lost 3-2 at Brighton
Up next:  11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Spurs

15. Brighton and Hove Albion — A very nice VAR-aided win over Everton, and Graham Potter‘s men will hope to ride momentum to another three points.
Last week: 18
Season high: 6
Season low:18
Last match: Won 3-2 v. Everton
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Norwich City

(Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

14. West Ham United — Winless since the defeat of Man Utd (five matches), Manuel Pellegrini has to get Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson back to their best.
Last week: 15
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Sheffield United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Newcastle United

13. Bournemouth — Also winless in four with a stiff incoming test.
Last week: 9
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Watford
Up next: 8:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Manchester United

12. Burnley — Into a four-match run which demands results (Sheff Utd, West Ham, Watford, Palace) if this is going to be a second top half season in three attempts.
Last week: 11
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Lost 4-2 v. Chelsea
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Sheffield United

11. Wolves — Deserved more than a point against Newcastle, but there have been too many matches like that for Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men this season. Willy Boly‘s injury is extremely challenging. Saturday at the Emirates could be a barnburner.
Last week: 10
Season high: 7
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Newcastle United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Arsenal

10. Tottenham Hotspur — Tricky little run ahead, starting at inconsistent before a trip to Serbia and visit from Sheffield United. We’ll soon know if the slump has truly been addressed.
Last week: 13
Season high: 2
Season low: 13
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Liverpool
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Everton

9. Aston Villa — Rebounded from the loss at Man City to advance in the League Cup, but gets a well-rested Liverpool at Villa Park.
Last week: 8
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Lost 3-0 at Man City
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Liverpool

8. Arsenal — A mess, but a fun one.
Last week: 7
Season high: 4
Season low: 8
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Wolves

7. Manchester United — Massively improved, though the Paul Pogba question hangs over Old Trafford as the club gets results without him.
Last week: 12
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 3-1 at Norwich City
Up next: 8:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Bournemouth
(Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

6. Sheffield United — Not a bad point in London.
Last week: 5
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 1-1 at West Ham United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Burnley

5. Crystal Palace — Looks like we were wrong about the Eagles, who have been truly impressive and steady thanks to Luka Milivojevic and James McArthur.
Last week: 6
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Arsenal
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Leicester City

4. Leicester City — The way the Foxes reacted to the blood in the water at St. Mary’s tells you all you need about the attitude at King Power.
Last week: 4
Season high: 3
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 9-0 at Southampton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Crystal Palace

3. Manchester City — The injuries are mounting up, but a visit from Saints should be pretty straight-forward. The four match stretch that follows (Atalanta and Liverpool away, Chelsea and Shakhtar at home) is far from it.
Last week: 3
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 3-0 v. Aston Villa
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Southampton

2. Chelsea — Saturday’s visitors are stingier these days, but Chelsea’s league win streak should continue at Vicarage Road.
Last week: 2
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 4-2 at Burnley
Up next: 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Watford

1. Liverpool —  How many times have the Reds been the better rested team in a PL match? Klopp’s gamble of playing the kids versus Arsenal looking doubly fortunate now.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Tottenham Hotspur
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Aston Villa

Crystal Palace comes back for point in drama-filled Arsenal draw

Photo by Nigel French/PA Images via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored early but saw his late winner pulled back by a controversial VAR decision as Arsenal threw away a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

David Luiz also scored for Arsenal, whose defense was a strength in attack and a weakness at the back in providing a 2-0 lead and allowing it to disappear.

Luka Milivojevic and Jordan Ayew scored for Palace, the latter a star in the draw.

Arsenal sits fifth with 16 points, one more than sixth place Palace.


Three things we learned

1. If at first you can’t defend… Arsenal’s oft-criticized center backs took the goals into their own hands, and if you’re up 2-0 within nine minutes it’s gonna be hard to be the goat. Sokratis’ goal came with calm after Granit Xhaka knocked down a clearance off a corner, and he was back post when David Luiz poked home a Lacazette-flicked cross to make it 2-0.

2. …You’re still going to have to defend, though: Arsenal’s backs helped give the lead away within 40 minutes, with Chambers cutting down Zaha — or at least daring VAR to go the other direction — and Luiz losing track of Ayew. Chambers really struggled, picking up a yellow card in addition to some haphazard first half passing, as improved defense in recent weeks appeared to be a magician’s trick after multi-goal concessions to Vitoria and Palace within three days.

3. Xhaka’s Arsenal career meets flash point: Voted club captain to the consternation of many Gooners, Xhaka was booed off the field when he was subbed off at the hour mark. The Swiss enforcer motioned his arms to welcome more boos, then yelled to the crowd to expletive off, cupping his hand to his ear before ripping off his shirt and storming down the tunnel. Things are not good in North London.

4. VAR overrules Sokratis winner for… something? As of publishing time on this post, there’s no clarity as to why VAR found a clear and obvious error that Roger East missed on Sokratis’ winner. Chambers is battling for the ball with several Palace defenders, hands everywhere, as he pushed the ball to Sokratis for what would’ve been a huge winner. There’s a problem here.

Man of the Match: Ayew? Milivojevic? Sokratis? We’ll go with McArthur, who was quite good and supplied the match-drawing assist.


An early corner cause Palace problems and put Arsenal in front, with Granit Xhaka settling Gary Cahill‘s headed clearance for Sokratis Papastathopoulus to hit through traffic for 1-0.

He could’ve had two had Luiz not also been at the back post to poke home a ninth minute corner, as Arsenal had Palace at sixes and sevens.

Lacazette had an effort saved moments later, and Palace fans were right to be concerned for the score line.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Aubameyang missed a chance, too, as Arsenal really should’ve had a massive lead when Zaha won a penalty off of Calum Chambers. Palace penalty usually equals Palace goal in Milivojevic’s world, and this time was no different.

Palace leveled the score just after halftime, as James McArthur‘s cross hung in the air for days. Neither Luiz nor Leno could get there as Ayew headed home.

As poor as he was defensively, Chambers was nearly again an offensive hero before sweeping a shot wide in the 62nd.

Arsenal thought it went ahead through Papastathopoulous, but VAR found a hard-to-pinpoint foul on Chambers as he won what would’ve been a match-winning assist. Baffling.

Wayne Hennessey made a nice stop on a Lacazette header as the match headed toward its final half hour. He’d late stop Luiz in the 89th with a result-saving stop. Zaha came close to equalizing when he turned a Christian Benteke flick toward goal and burned Chambers.

Crystal Palace beat battling Norwich

Leave a comment

Crystal Palace beat a spirited Norwich City side 2-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday, as goals in each half from Luka Milivojevic and Andros Townsend did the damage.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Without several injured played Norwich made it tough for Palace, but Roy Hodgson‘s side had a little more quality when it mattered most.

With the win Palace move on to 11 points for the season, while Norwich have six.


3 things we learned 

1. Eagles fly out of the traps: Roy Hodgson’s men came flying out of the traps and set the tone for this win. They are up to ninth in the PL table and have won three of their first seven games. That is a very good return for a team many thought would struggle after losing Aaron Wan-Bissaka and almost seeing Zaha follow him out of the door. Palace are solid and if they can stay lucky with injuries they will be pushing for a top 10 finish.

2. Injuries hitting Norwich hard: When Michael McGovern, third-choice goalkeeper, is coming on early in the second half you know Norwich have problems. Daniel Farke‘s men have been hit hard by injuries and this is holding them back. They were brave and both Pukki and Cantwell went close to scoring in the first half, but couldn’t

3. Zaha back to his best: Wilfried Zaha had a tough summer and didn’t end up leaving Palace, but he finally looks ready to step up and lead the Eagles up the table. Zaha was a constant threat against Norwich and set up Townsend for the second goal with his tireless running. Zaha was our  Man of the Match and when he plays this well, Palace can match anyone in the PL.


Wilfried Zaha was causing all kinds of problems out on the right flank as Norwich struggled to cope with his trickery and pace.

Ralf Fahrmann then saved from Jordan Ayew as the Eagles came flying out of the traps.

A real moment of controversy then arrived as VAR checked a penalty decision from Jon Moss.

James McArthur turned in the box and was brought down by a sliding challenge from Ibrahim Amadou, as a VAR check confirmed Moss’ decision.

Milivojevic, so reliable from the spot, slammed home the penalty kick into the top corner to put Palace ahead.

Moments after the penalty was scored Fahrmann had to come off and Norwich were down to third-choice goalkeeper, Northern Ireland international Michael McGovern.

Teemu Pukki broke free after a long ball forward and his powerful shot from a tight angle was tipped over by Vicente Guaita. Norwich were almost level just before the break as Todd Cantwell was found in the box but Martin Kelly slid in and blocked his goalbound shot on the line. Marco Stiepermann almost picked out Pukki as the Canaries improved drastically following a shaky start.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half Norwich had a few chances on the break and hung into the game until late on.

Zaha’s runs down the left were causing big problems and he weaved past several defenders before setting up Townsend for the clincher in stoppage time.

2-0 win at home. Zaha dazzling.

Textbook Palace.