Crystal Palace against Chelsea is one of the rarer London derbies, mainly due to Palace’s propensity to drift between leagues while the Premier League has been our home since its foundation. But the signifigance it holds, and the adversities Palace will present, must not be underestimated.
While we mount a serious challenge for the league crown, Tony Pullis’s men are embroiled in a dogged relegation battle, composed of at least six sides. The title race is the tightest for years, and so is the fight to retain top-flight status.
When Palace visited Stamford Bridge in December, we battled to a vital victory. Petr Cech produced a string of fine saves after goals from Fernando Torres and Ramires, who will be out of this fixture, sandwiched Marouane Chamakh’s equaliser. Palace will battle tirelessly for crucial points, and with the backing of their vocal support, our trip to Selhurst Park will not be as straight forward as most anticipate.
We have proven our ability to play poorly and consequently lose away to the ‘lesser’ clubs in matches we were largely expected to win, with Newcastle, Stoke, Everton and most recently Aston Villa cases in point. And with Arsenal playing host to Manchester City, we are presented with an opportunity we must not waste. Nothing but three points will suffice.
While Willian returns from his farcical suspension, fellow Brazilian Ramires serves the second of his three-match suspension for a stamp on Aston Villa’s Karim El Ahmadi.
The only negative from our hugely gratifying demolition of Arsenal last weekend was the hamstring injury sustained by Samuel Eto’o, ruling him out for this encounter and potentially our Champions League quarter-final first-leg in Paris on Wednesday.
Predicted starting line-ups
Palace: Speroni, Marriapa, Delaney, Dann, Ward, Puncheon, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Bolasie, Ledley, Jerome.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Matic, Lampard, Schurrle, Oscar, Hazard, Torres.
Following his impressive individual display last time out, I expect Andre Schurrle to keep his place despite the availability of Willian. Jose Mourinho’s verdict on central midfield will be intriguing, given David Luiz’s eye-catching performance alongside the reliable Nemanja Matic against Arsenal.
Given Palace’s recent abysmal results, their last victory dating back to 8th February against fellow strugglers West Brom, and our star-studded squad, I anticipate a comfortable victory. But when it’s a London derby, the stakes are high and one of the big boys is in town, teams are bound to raise their game.
(L) Newcastle 1-0 Palace
(D) Sunderland 0-0 Palace
(L) Palace 0-1 Southampton
(D) Swansea 1-1 Palace
(L) Palace 0-2 Man Utd
(W) Palace 3-1 West Brom
(W) Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal
(W) Chelsea 2-0 Galatasaray
(L) Aston Villa 1-0 Chelsea
(W) Chelsea 4-0 Tottenham
(W) Fulham 1-3 Chelsea
(D) Galatasaray 1-1 Chelsea
what happened to this blog?at one time it was more popular than the official Chelsea site.
Maybe it’s the twitter effect, and dealing with anything more than 140 chars is becoming too much like hard work.
Personally, the Robbie out Rafa in fiasco was one bollock-kicking too far, and along with other non-football stuff taking precedence, my mojo’s gone walkabout with more regularity than our crappy results of late.
It’d be interesting to hear what’s caused others to vacate the premises (if anyone’s around to comment, of course).
Anyway, Jose’s back and we’re playing some great football on occasions, and not so good at other times.
Although more of a setback than previous defeats, I’m far less miffed by the Palace result. The damage was done at Villa Park and we were left facing a perfect storm, with Pullis knowing the edge would be taken off our game, all the more so with Paris on Wednesday, and he got them believing they could win, and they did.
They might have been lucky to go ahead, but after that they kept going and should’ve had a couple more.
We tried hard enough, but it was the classic situation where the home team were fighting for survival, and the visitors had (I guess) been working on strategies for PSG and no doubt a few suitcases had already been packed, so no real complaints, from me at least.
Can’t even suggest what more we could’ve done.
With hindsight we faffed about too much on the edge of their box, but they were extremely disciplined, and I can’t recall a single free kick in good shooting range, which must surely have been in our game plan. Also, we obessed with getting to the goal lline when a quick, early, diagonal cross might’ve been the better option. But we had loads of corners and an attacking lineup yet we still couldn’t score!
So we probably play Palace again next year, as it’s difficult to see them going down now.
b) Don’t equate comment numbers with visitor numbers – there are just as many people reading the blog now as a few years ago. There’s plenty of conversation happening on Twitter and there certainly doesn’t appear to be much apathy there.
c) As if you ever brought anything to the conversation other than trolling.
I mostly just read, nowadays, and have posted a few times f late, but I just find a general apathy surrounding all things Chelsea, and I’m guessing that it’s due to the manner of the communication between the club itself, and the supporters. The recent treatment of our managers has left a bitter aftertaste, and though the appointment of Jose has helped, in general, there seems to be very little presence from the club.
A decade ago, it was our style, and the fact that we were backed by Roman’s roubles. A few years ago, it was our haphazard success, and the remnants of Jose’s first team getting us noticed. Now, we don’t seem to have anything about us, so on spite of our improvement, there really isn’t much of note to talk about, with regards to the club. We simply struggle to be relevant, our constant upheaval has made the club to affect a vanilla, non-offensive image, and our desire to try and remain inconspicuous have left the entire feeling around the club a little frustratingly bland, and this blog is a microcosm of that general progression.
It is not Twitter it is just general apathy because we all know where the problem lies, but we can’t do anything about it. We are just waiting for certain players to go and new ones to arrive.
There is not much to say/add; we all know that Torres is a waste of space. Even with half decent striker like Eto’o (half – just because he is old) is right now we are infinitely better.
Young team + fag end of a long season + coming off the high of thrashing Arsenal + up against a Tony Pulis outfit = fairly predictable dropped points.
No complaints. The consistency will come. This’ll be a trophyless season, but still a hugely satisfying one. And actually I wouldn’t be surprised if we squeaked past PSG and ended up expending the dying embers of the team’s brilliance in some knuckle-chewingly titanic battle with Real or Bayern. I’m trying to think … have we ever been drawn against Real? It seems to me that I keep hoping to see them at Stamford Bridge but never have. (I’m talking about the CL era, of course; not counting the famous old Cup Winners’ Cup triumph.)
Annoying as the ‘Poo fans are, I’m sort of hoping they can beat City over the line. Brendan Rogers is one of ours, after all.