2018-12-28 by W.M.
Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea: Odds, Preview, Live Stream, TV Info | Bleacher Report
Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images
Chelsea travel to Selhurst Park on Sunday and can temporarily move within one point of defending Premier League champions Manchester City if they beat Crystal Palace on their own turf.
Roy Hodgson has restored some consistency to Palace’s play with them on a three-match unbeaten streak that includes a 3-2 win over City at the Etihad Stadium.
The Eagles have since been held to a goalless draw at home by Cardiff City, while Sunday’s visitors have won their last two away matches. The most recent of those came at Vicarage Road on Boxing Day, when the Blues beat Watford 2-1 to climb above Arsenal into fourth.
Eden Hazard scored both of their goals in that win and will be expected to impress when they make the short trip to Selhurst Park, where Chelsea were 2-1 losers in their last trip (October 2017).
Date: Sunday, December 30
Time: 12 p.m. GMT/7 a.m. ET
Venue: Selhurst Park, London
TV Info: Sky Sports (UK), NBCSN (U.S.)
Crystal Palace: 15-2
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri seems likely to continue deploying Hazard as his attacking focal point in south London despite any reservations the Belgian may have shown since transitioning to the false nine role.
Wednesday’s hero at Vicarage Road, the 27-year-old moved on from some early missed chances to turn in a match-winning brace and took his overall goal tally for Chelsea to the 101 mark in the process:
B/R Football @brfootball
The tenth player to score 100 goals for Chelsea 💯
👏 @hazardeden10 👏 https://t.co/gTlZ5VHnC1
Palace are the next team to be tasked with slowing Hazard, who has three goals and an assist in his last three league games and looks to be leading Chelsea’s charge back up the table.
Fans and team-mates alike will have also been boosted by Hazard’s comments after the win at Watford, where he appeared to hint at a long-term future at Stamford Bridge, via Sky Sports:
Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL
“I want to score more goals for this club and then try to be a legend like Lampard, Terry, Drogba.”
Eden Hazard reflects on his 100th and 101st goals for Chelsea after beating Watford 2-1. https://t.co/aVXQn7PJrf
Hodgson won’t be as happy to see the Belgian and Chelsea in such flying form, particularly after his side came up short at home to fellow relegation candidates Cardiff City despite dominating the matchup.
Palace accounted for more than 60 per cent of the possession against the Bluebirds and had more than three times the number of shots at goal, per WhoScored.com).
Match of the Day @BBCMOTD
That’s Crystal Palace’s highest number of shots in a Premier League game since 2003-04.
#MOTD 👉 https://t.co/wU2mRw2bsF #CPFC https://t.co/PBDgR90QUt
Wilfried Zaha scored the winner against Chelsea last year, when a Cesar Azpilicueta own goal started off a forgettable day for the west Londoners, who were then managed by Antonio Conte. Zaha has failed to score in his last 12 league games and could really do with rediscovering his finishing touch in time for Sunday.
After a strong start to life at the club, Sarri has seen a dip in results of late. Chelsea have lost three times and drawn twice in their past 11 games, having started his tenure at the club by going unbeaten in his first 20 matches.
The signs of improvement are there all the same, though, even if Squawka highlighted them as slight:
Squawka Football @Squawka
2017/18: 39 points
2018/19: 40 points
After 19 games, Maurizio Sarri has improved Chelsea… just. 😬 https://t.co/1pmJkzmEeX
Alvaro Morata has been out of the side lately due to injury and wouldn’t appear likely to recapture his spot in attack even if fit.
He may struggle to make his mark against a team that have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three games at Selhurst Park, with Palace hopeful of taking down another Premier League heavyweight before 2018 comes to a close.