Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has been handed a double injury blow ahead of the Blues’ trip to Selhurst Park on Sunday, having almost certainly lost the services of both Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi against Watford on Boxing Day.
After falling to a surprise 1-0 defeat at home to Leicester just a few days before, the Champions League chasers managed to get back on track with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Vicarage Road but after seeing Pedro forced off with a hamstring strain, only to then lose academy graduate Hudson-Odoi later in the contest, it’s likely that match-winner Eden Hazard will be forced out wide once more for Chelsea’s trip to SE25.
The Belgian broke through the 100-goal barrier for the west Londoners against Watford playing in a central position but thanks to the headaches provided by the aforementioned injuries to wide men, the smart money suggests that Olivier Giroud will be recalled as a central striker by Sarri, leaving Hazard to plug the gap left on the flank.
Given the depth of squad the Blues already have, I’ll admit to not feeling too much sympathy for them but after a blistering start to their Premier League campaign, shock results like their home defeat to the Foxes, not to mention first-team absences with games coming thick and fast have left them treading water behind the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City in the battle for the title.
Off the back of a stunning 3-2 victory over Manchester City and three home games without conceding a goal, you’d fancy Palace to give it a good go against Chelsea on Sunday, with the potential for a positive result there for all to see. Whilst I don’t exactly expect to come away with a win or even a point, there is definitely a chance of us dealing a body-blow to their hopes of a top four finish.
Watch this space.