Chelsea vs Crystal Palace, Premier League

Crystal Palace given major boost ahead of Chelsea match

Crystal Palace given major boost ahead of Chelsea match

The focus is firmly on securing a top-four berth, but the West Londoners trail fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur by five points.

Merson added: "But I think without Wilfried Zaha they really struggle, so I can't look beyond Chelsea".

The Blues will take on Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash at Camp Nou on Wednesday night. Here is our predicted XI.

Chelsea are in danger of going four games without victory having won just four of their last 15 fixtures in all competitions. Coming in 2-0 down against a team of Chelsea's quality, and not least of all their pace and power on the counter-attack, it was always going to be very hard, and a repeat of the first half performance could have ended extremely badly for us. On the other hand, Chelsea are fifth in the table and are on the outside looking in when it comes to Champions League places for next season.

For Palace the good news had come before the game, with the return of Mamadou Sakho and, even more importantly, Zaha to their bench.

Davide Zappacosta and Gary Cahill come in for Victor Moses and Antonio Rudiger, with the Germany global getting a full rest ahead of Barcelona on Wednesday.

Chelsea deservedly received scathing criticism for their extraordinarily negative approach in last week's 1-0 defeat at champions elect Manchester City.

The gaffer hints that he trusts the two forwards but refused to guarantee them a place in the starting line-up against Palace. We need to have a good performance, to get three points.

Conte opted to play Eden Hazard in a false-nine role as the Blues lost to Manchester City last weekend but the Belgian was heavily isolated throughout. "You have to regret the games against Bournemouth, Watford and United", he remarks.

Palace has lost its last three Premier League games and hasn't won since a 1-0 victory over Burnley on January 13.

"I remember in the first game earlier this season when we lost away, he scored and he created a lot of problems".

The hosts will be without the services of Tiemoue Bakayoko, David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu. We are playing against one of the best teams in the world. "The best way sometimes is to speak with the players and to try to find together the right plan to face this game".

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