The unstoppable blue machine of Chelsea makes the short journey to South London this Lunchtime as Antonio Conte’s side look to extend their winning run to 11 games in a row when they take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. With a 6 point gap at the top it is a definite that Chelsea will be top at Christmas but they have the opportunity to add even more pressure on the title chasing sides below them.
That’s because with them playing first this weekend they have the chance to lay down a marker and could very well be nine points clear of both Liverpool and Arsenal even if it’s just for a few hours. They chalked up win number 10 of their staggering run on Wednesday with victory over Sunderland at The Stadium Of Light.
Cesc Fabregas who came into the side in place of Nemanja Matic got the game’s solitary goal but Chelsea had Thibaut Courtois to thank for coming away with all three points. A string of saves from Belgian ‘keeper kept Chelsea in front but none was more impressive then his reflex save in the dying minutes from Patrick Van Aanholt’s shot from the edge of the box.
Chelsea look simply unstoppable at present and Palace are the next side to try and bring this run to a halt. Alan Pardew’s side suffered disappointment on Wednesday when they threw away a point late on at home to Manchester United but with a difficult run of fixtures over the Christmas period it’s not a result they can dwell on for all that long.
After James McArthur cancelled out Paul Pogba’s opener, Palace were just three minutes from earning a creditable point but once again poor game management and a failure to close out the game meant that Zlatan Ibrahimovic was on hand to break The Eagles hearts and consign Palace to 16th in the table after Wednesday’s result.
Once again the pressure seems to be mounting on Alan Pardew. The 3-0 win over Southampton illeviated that somewhat but since then they have only picked up a solitary point from their next two matches and you get the feeling that the Christmas period is either going to break Pardew’s managerial reign at the club.
With the thankless task of facing Chelsea today it’s almost a free hit for Palace as they will go into the game as underdogs but that’s not to say that they can afford to just let Antonio Conte’s side roll all over them. It’s a big game for the home side as they need to keep that buffer between themselves and the bottom three.
Unfortunately for them I can’t see it being anything other than an 11th straight win for Chelsea. That will be great news for fans of The Blues but bad news for the rest of the Premier League as it looks like they could be running away with this and turning the season into a one horse race. It’s an away win for me.