Chelsea may be flying at the top of the Premier League heading into April but Blues boss Antonio Conte has admitted to being extremely wary of Crystal Palace ahead of his team’s meeting with them this afternoon.
Whilst even the most optimistic of Palace fans is feeling rather worried about the prospect of taking on the red-hot blues at Stamford Bridge later today, the man on the other side of the divide is far from comfortable with the thought of going into battle with such a talented group of players following the recent international break.
Having seen his team forced to really dig in for their 1-0 win at Selhurst Park earlier in the season when Palace were being managed by Alan Pardew, Conte is sure to be even more concerned by the unique tactical conundrums that are set to be served up by Pards’ immediate successor, Big Sam. The former England boss has something of a reputation for upsetting the big boys when they least expect it, a trend I’m sure Conte has already been extensively briefed about in the build-up to the game.
On paper, today’s meeting has the feel of a free hit for Allardyce’s players but if Conte’s comments featured above are anything to go by, the hosts won’t be taking their foot off the gas for a second in fear of being caught cold.
I won’t lie, it’s incredibly flattering to hear a manager who has masterminded such an impressive turnaround in Chelsea’s fortunes talking about us in such glowing terms without even a hint of irony. Hopefully the players use his kind words as motivation to go out and play to their full potential when the time comes.
Anything other than a defeat would rank up there with our most impressive results of the season so far in my view.
We live in hope.