TEAM NEWS

Blues midfielder Ross Barkley is set to return having been rested for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win over Derby County. Chelsea’s Eden Hazard is expected to be fit to play some part after recovering from a back injury.

Wilfried Zaha missed Crystal Palace’s midweek defeat at Middlesbrough with a shoulder problem but is fit. But Connor Wickham joins Christian Benteke, Scott Dann and Joel Ward on the sidelines due to a thigh strain.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

@Wilsonfooty: On the face of it there seems little likelihood of Crystal Palace ending Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season. Palace has been severely hampered by injuries to their strikers, but even at full strength, their squad looks short on real top-flight quality.

Willian

Wilfried Zaha has that in spades, of course, but would he regularly get in Chelsea’s side? Almost certainly not – and that’s the gulf Roy Hodgson has to try to bridge. But the beauty of football is that it does throw up surprises – and Palace’s wins at Chelsea in 2015 and 2017 certainly fall into that category.

After his time at Inter Milan, Roy Hodgson’s reputation among Italian coaches has remained high – and Maurizio Sarri will be more wary of Hodgson’s scheming than any single name on the Eagles’ teamsheet.

VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri on Eden Hazard’s fitness: “Yesterday Eden had a large part of training with the team. Maybe he will not be ready to play for 90 minutes at the moment because it was his first training in the last two weeks.

“But probably he will be able to play for 40, 45 minutes. So for us it’s important.”

Crystal Palace manger Roy Hodgson: “We can’t disguise the enormity of the task.

“We can’t make out it will be easier than it is going to be, but we have played well against Liverpool and Arsenal. Our belief and confidence is based on that.

“I don’t prepare for teams to underestimate us, because I think we have done enough not to be underestimated. I don’t think anyone will see it as a foregone conclusion.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

Blues boss Maurizio Sarri has got a talented squad and happy camp – they are playing well, winning and enjoying themselves, and I think that will continue on Sunday.

Prediction: 2-0

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Palace have won two of the last three meetings and two of the last three clashes at Stamford Bridge.
  • Four of the last six meetings have ended 2-1.

Chelsea

  • Chelsea have drawn three of their last five league matches, winning two.
  • Six of their seven league goals conceded this season have come at home.
  • Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri could equal Frank Clark’s Premier League record of staying unbeaten in his first 11 Premier League games (with Nottingham Forest in 1994).
  • Eden Hazard has scored just one goal in 10 Premier League appearances against Crystal Palace.
  • Ross Barkley has scored in each of his last three Premier League games for Chelsea – only two Englishmen have scored in four in a row for the Blues, Frank Lampard and Mark Stein.

Crystal Palace

  • Palace are without a win in their last five league matches, losing three.
  • All four of Palace’s wins this season have come away from home – two in the league and two in the League Cup.
  • Five of their seven league goals this season have been scored on their travels.
  • The Eagles are one win shy of 200 victories in the top flight.
  • Roy Hodgson’s only Premier League win at Stamford Bridge came on his first visit in April 1998 with Blackburn Rovers – he has lost his last four league matches there.

Source: BBC News