Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea

Preview: Palace vs. Chelsea
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Sports Mole previews the London derby between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park, where the hosts will seek a repeat of last year's Premier League win.

Crystal Palace's 1-0 win over Chelsea in this fixture last season went a long way to defining each side's campaigns.

John Terry's own goal took the title out of Chelsea's hands, and prompted Palace's best-ever Premier League run as they won their next four games to secure what had previously appeared an unlikely survival.

Meanwhile, the Blues fell away and missed out on the championship, but they are a different animal this season and visit Selhurst Park five points clear at the top of the table following an unbeaten start.

Jose Mourinho's sides are famously good frontrunners, and the additions of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa have given their attack the guile and goals that it was lacking to go all the way in 2013-14.

Costa, who opened his international account for Spain in the week, is four clear at the top of the Premier League scoring charts with nine in seven games since joining in a £32m deal from Atletico Madrid.

The contribution of Fabregas in his blistering start to English football cannot be overlooked, with the midfielder the leading assister in Europe, although none of his seven came in the 2-0 win over former club Arsenal.

Mourinho would perhaps have stuck with the same side for consecutive London derbies had it not been for an injury picked up by Andre Schurrle, who withdrew from Germany's 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland.

Willian travelled to Brazil and back this week, but is still the most likely candidate to replace him, with compatriot Ramires still sidelined. Loic Remy and Mohamed Salah are other options for the league leaders.

Thibaut Courtois recovered from the head injury which eventually forced him off against the Gunners to play two Euro 2016 qualifiers for Belgium and he will reclaim the goalkeeping jersey from Petr Cech.

Their 2-0 defeat to Hull City last time out was Palace's first loss in five top-flight games under Neil Warnock, but the journeyman manager is unlikely to panic into changing what has been a settled side.

The prognosis for Scott Dann looks good after he was stretchered off at the KC Stadium and, while this game comes too soon for the defender, Eagles medical staff are optimistic that he could play next weekend.

Adrian Mariappa is also a fitness doubt and therefore Brede Hangeland could be handed a first Premier League start of the Warnock reign, having found himself surprisingly out of favour since the 65-year-old's return.

Dwight Gayle, Wilfried Zaha and Marouane Chamakh could give the hosts some attacking options to use from the bench in the latter stages, if a repeat of last year's result appears to be on the cards.

Recent form

Palace: LWDWDD

Chelsea: WWWWDD

Possible starting lineups

Palace: Speroni; Ward, Hangeland, Delaney, Kelly; Jedinak, McArthur, Ledley; Puncheon, Bolasie, Campbell

Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Costa

Sports Mole says: 0-2

Who will win Saturday's match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park?

Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace
Manager Neil Warnock of Crystal Palace turns to celebrate with his coaching staff after Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace scored their third goal and equaliser in stoppage time during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Crystal Pa
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