Crystal Palace would have loved the international break for the simple reason that at least they could not lose unfortunately for them the hiatus comes to and end this afternoon as they play host to the defending Premier League champions Chelsea.
It has been the worst possible start for Palace and that is written in the most literal sense. No points, no goals and to be honest almost no hope as Roy Hodgson attempts to salvage what is already looking like a rudderless ship which is slowly sinking to the surface.
The former England boss Hodgson has undoubtedly been given a baptism of fire since stepping into the Crystal Palace hotseat. Three defeats has seen his new charges concede 10 goals while failing to open their account at the other end.
You could of course add the caveat that the fixture computer has been incredibly unkind to Woy what with fixtures against Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea but at the same time there has been nothing in the way of the “new manager bounce” and that must be a concern to Palace fans.
Fans who to be fair to them have come out of this farcical start to the season with a lot of credit, it is almost bordering on gallows humour for them as they have witnessed seven straight defeats and like most football fans their masochistic tendencies will be on show when they have to do it all again this afternoon.
Their may well be a small glimmer of hope for the Eagles though and that is the fact that Chelsea do not come here at full strength due to injuries that have been suffered to the in form striker Alvaro Morata and the imperious N’Golo Kante.
Morata had to come off early against Manchester City before the international break and the fact that Chelsea then lacked that focal point for a large majority of the game played into Pep Guardiola’s and City’s hands as they ended up leaving Stamford Bridge with all three points.
In addition to that Antonio Conte’s injury woes would have continued a week ago when N’Golo Kante limped off while on international duty for France. He picked up a hamstring injury in Sofia and now is set to miss the whole of what is set to be a busy October.
Both players will be sorely missed due for obviously different reasons but it up front where they might feel it most. Antonio Conte has to decide whether to once again place Eden Hazard up top like as what happened during the Manchester City defeat or does he opt for the more recognised forward Michy Batshuyai.
It must have been frustrating for Batshuyai to have not even come on in replacement for Morata a fortnight ago, the Belgian international may well be asking just what he has to do to get into the first team, not forgetting this is a player that scored a dramatic late winner against Atletico Madrid.
Chelsea are arguably understocked in attack but what Palace would do with a striker in the way of Batshuyai, again Roy Hodgson will have to look in a bare cupboard and decide which player will be given the thankless task of trying to score Palace’s first goal of the campaign.
Due to that lack of forward personnel, Chelsea know that really they are only going to have to score one goal to win this game but unfortunately for Palace I don’t think they will stop there. It’s going to be another defeat for Palace, just what will happen after eight. An away win for me.
Here is what social media thinks – you can still vote on the outcome
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) October 13, 2017