Potential Chelsea lineup against Crystal Palace

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A troubled transfer window (mired by a difference of opinion at the boardroom level) was not ideal for the Blues to begin their title defense in a convincing fashion.

A win would put Chelsea four points short of Liverpool and two behind Tottenham, who sit in fourth place and play on Sunday. The current champions are already five points behind the top-four. It's a fight for survival.

There has not been too much wrong with Palace's performances recently although results have gone against them.

"Our confidence when you lose many games in a row is not simple".

The hosts now sit in the relegation zone but a victory on Saturday could propel them out of the drop zone and give them a little bit more hope of stay up.

Palace are specialists at scoring in the final 15 minutes, though, now doing so 10 times from their 28 goals this term, but Van Aanholt's low blast past Courtois was not added to in the remaining three minutes of added time.

"The best way sometimes is to speak with the players and to try to find together the right plan to face this game".

The reigning champions had suffered two consecutive losses at the hands of Manchester United and Manchester City in their last two games, but things were rather more straightforward this time around against Roy Hodgson's struggling Crystal Palace.

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Tiemoue Bakayoko and Ethan Ampadu are back from injury but they only make the bench.

Loanee Timothy Fosu-Mensah is available after being ineligible against parent club Manchester United on Monday.

But the winger is a doubt to start against Chelsea on Saturday after suffering a knee injury at the start of February.

Palace have won back-to-back league games at Stamford Bridge after failing to win any of their first 13 top-flight matches at the ground (D5, L8).

The French midfielder is a bundle of energy.

Paul Merson is backing Chelsea FC to beat Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening ahead of their trip to Barcelona next week.

Chelsea closed the gap on the top four with a dominant win over Crystal Palace thanks to a strike from Willian and an own goal from Martin Kelly. "Those two points - more, when you look at the United game - could've made a big difference".

"This season perhaps hasn't been quite as good as last season but the team is still doing well", he said. This means that Townsend should be very motivated to perform at the highest level against one of the best sides in the league, particularly with the World Cup in Russian Federation fast approaching.

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