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PL Preview: Chelsea v. Crystal Palace

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  • 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.

Watch Live: Crystal Palace v. Leicester City

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Crystal Palace and Leicester City jockey for top half position when the Foxes visit Selhurst Park on Sunday (Watch live at 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Vicente Guaita is between the sticks for Palace, whose 15 points are five behind fourth place Leicester.

The Foxes start Jamie Vardy and James Maddison in a bid to meet the weekend feats of Liverpool, Man City, and Chelsea.

LINEUPS

Crystal Palace: Guaita, Ward, Van Aanholt, Cahill, Tomkins, Schlupp, Milivojevic, Kouyaté, McArthur, Zaha, Ayew. Subs: Hennessey, Dann, Kelly, McCarthy, Camarasa, Meyer, Benteke.

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Chilwell, Soyuncu, Evans, Pereira, Ndidi, Barnes, Maddison, Tielemans, Perez, Vardy. Subs: Ward, Justin, Morgan, Albrighton, Iheanacho, Gray, Praet.

Premier League preview: Crystal Palace v. Man City

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  • Crystal Palace has earned four points in their last 3 PL games v. MCFC
  • Crystal Palace has 3 clean sheets in 4 home PL matches this season
  • Sergio Aguero has not scored in 6 PL matches at Selhurst Park

With Liverpool set to face Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal in the next three matches with Champions League play sprinkled in, now is the time for Manchester City to pounce.

Pep Guardiola leads Man City to Selhurst Park with a hefty eight point distance between them and the Reds atop the Premier League table, looking to make a dent in the differential as they face Crystal Palace on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET live on NBC or live online at NBCSports.com.

[ WATCH LIVE: Crystal Palace v. Manchester City ]

Kevin De Bruyne has been on fire despite his injury troubles, with eight assists in league play this season, double anyone else in the league. Unfortunately, the Man City defense has not followed suit, with the squad banged up and conceding twice to Wolves before the international break and recording just three clean sheets this season. The nine goals they’ve conceded thus far is triple what they allowed through the first eight matches of last season – in fact, it took them until a Week 16 loss to Chelsea to concede nine league goals.

Now, they face an in-form Crystal Palace side challenging for a European place to begin the season, having won its last two and four of its last six. They have been excellent at home, going unbeaten in four this season in league play. They aren’t dominating teams, but they’re earning results and sit sixth in the table with 14 points. What’s more, they’re doing all this without stalwart defender James Tomkins, who struggled with a groin injury early in the season and has suddenly found his place in the squad snatched up by Martin Kelly and Gary Cahill who are performing well together at Selhurst Park.

Roy Hodgson has instilled a culture of consistency at Crystal Palace that has allowed the club to not just earn results against teams they should beat but also challenge for points against the best squads in the league week in and week out.

Injuries/suspensions

Crystal Palace: OUT – Mamadou Sakho (groin), Connor Wickham (ankle).

Man City: OUT – Aymeric Laporte (knee), Leroy Sane (knee). QUESTIONABLE – John Stones (thigh), Benjamin Mendy (thigh).


Projected lineups

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

Man City: Ederson; Zinchenko, Otamendi, Stones, Walker; Fernandinho, De Bruyne, David Silva; Sterling, Aguero, Bernardo Silva.


What they’re saying

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson on Raheem Sterling: “The criticism that could be leveled at him then and was, much to my displeasure because I would see him playing well, the big thing for Raheem is that there’s no draining his confidence, and no doubts. He’s playing in a team that creates a lot of chances so he gets in the right positions. His maturity, not just as a Manchester City player, but shouldering a very heavy burden with the racism and the attention that is being paid to the racism problem that we have. He has been a spokesperson.”

Man City boss Guardiola on Roy Hodgson: “I think since Roy took over the team [Palace] with zero points and helped them to avoid relegation, they have always made a really good season. They have incredibly talented players. Of course I admire him. He has the patience and love. It’s incredible. You have to have a lot of energy every day and he is there.”


Prediction

Manchester City has a loaded squad with reinforcements on the way in John Stones and Benjamin Mendy. Stones in particular is a massive addition, and if he is indeed fit to play, his presence gives this squad new life at the back. Still, Crystal Palace is as formidable a mid-table side as any in the Premier League and will be hungry to prove they mean business challenging for Europe this season. It will be a hard-fought grind, but Man City walks away with a quality 1-0 victory behind a goal from Raheem Sterling.

Zaha reportedly suing agency of summer transfer failure

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Crystal Palace is in the mix for a Top Six place in this wild Premier League season, but controversy is right around the corner when it comes to their top attacker.

Wilfried Zaha wanted to leave Palace this summer, but no move materialized for the Ivorian.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings — Wk8 ]

He thinks that wasn’t down to interest from other sides, as Everton and Arsenal were both reportedly in for the foul-drawing dribbler.

Zaha is reportedly suing his agent, Will Salthouse of Unique Sports Management, for failing to get him a move away from Selhurst Park.

His claim is quite intense:

Zaha is understood to have informed Salthouse in writing of his desire to leave USM last month, triggering the start of a potentially explosive legal wrangle, with the player alleging his agent is compromised by his relationship with Palace chairman Steve Parish.

He wants to leave the agency now, while USM wants to retain him through the year and keep a piece of his transfer fee. We imagine a move might’ve happened if they knew he’d leave the agency.

USM also represents former Crystal Palace star Aaron Wan-Bissaka and current Eagles players Andros Townsend, Jeffrey Schlupp, Cheikhou Kouyate, and Jordan Ayew.

AWB moved to Manchester United from Palace this summer, and the Eagles were said to have no interest in selling both players. Other USM clients to move this summer were Ryan Sessegnon and Che Adams.

Crystal Palace comes back to stun West Ham United

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A VAR goal with minutes to spare gave visiting Crystal Palace a 2-1 win over West Ham United at the London Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Jordan Ayew pushed a Gary Cahill knockdown over the line after Patrick Van Aanholt equalized from the spot, as Palace moved fourth with 14 points.

Sebastien Haller gave West Ham a lead, but the loss keeps Manuel Pellegrini‘s side from entering the Top Four. The Irons have 12 points and sit 7th.


Three things we learned

1. Guaita keeps it even early: That blonde-shock of hair in the golden shirt made two incredible saves on Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson in the first half-hour, and the Spaniard has performed as a top half goalkeeper according to most metrics. Saturday was no different.

2. Team goal gives West Ham its lead: West Ham’s opener had the fingerprints of Manuel Pellegrini all over it. Anderson blazed down the left side, and both Yarmolenko and Manuel Lanzini passed up chances to force a shot or cross until the ball got wide for square pass for a lunging Haller to poke home. Beautiful stuff.

3. VAR gives Ayew the winner: A lengthier than usual review added drama to Ayew’s winner, which was initially reviewed offside. Man was it close again, but Ayew was in the right spot when Gary Cahill nodded a free kick to the edge of the six.

Man of the Match: Fredericks — Sent the ball to Haller for the goal in addition to a point-blank goal line clearance.


[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Chances came for the hosts early, with Andriy Yarmolenko cueing up Sebastien Haller for a point-blank chance saved by Guaita and Anderson nodding to the keeper from in-tight.

At the other end, Ryan Fredericks made a goal line clearance when Zaha drove the line to set-up Jeff Schlupp.

Angelo Ogbonna chopped a shot over the goal in the 52nd, a prelude to Haller’s low finish two minutes later.

Palace was awarded a penalty when Declan Rice blocked a shot with his raised arm, and Van Aanholt finished his chance in the space normally occupied by Luka Milivojevic.

Van Aanholt also had a crucial intervention at the other end.