Eden Hazard is expected back in the first team as Chelsea aims to make it 11 wins out of 11 in the Premier League when they face Crystal Palace at the Selhurst Park on Saturday. The Belgian international missed the Sunderland in the midweek due to a minor injury.
It has been an incredible turnaround at the Stamford Bridge since October. Back in September it was another story. They had suffered defeats at Liverpool and Arsenal and a draw with Swansea pushed them out of the top four. But since after that The Blues have won their last 10 matches on the bounce and conceded just two goals to stamp their authority at the top of the table.
Their narrow win over Sunderland in the midweek opened up six points gap at the top and Antonio Conte will hope it remains like that or even more as they go towards a congested Xmas fixture.
Chelsea’s attack has been on fire and the more interesting fact is that the attack is not limited to a player though Diego Costa is leading with 12 goals. Pedro, Willian, Moses and Hazard have all contributed to the attack, so the Palace defence will have a handful on Saturday.
Crystal Palace have not found it rosy, even at home, they have lost seven of their nine games in the league. But they will be looking to end the Blues winning run. They dominated the match against Man United and were close to sharing a point with them but lost it two minutes from time
Palace forward Christian Benteke may pose a threat to the Blues defence but it is difficult to see Chelsea losing.
Their line-up is not expected to change much but Conte may decide to involve Nemanja Matic, dropping Cesc Fabregas despite the Spain international scoring the winner in the mid-week.
With Hazard’s return, Willian may start from the bench.
Predicted Chelsea Starting XI:
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Costa, Hazard.