The State of Play
For quite some time now Roy Hodgson has been under major pressure at Crystal Palace and the Englishman is rumoured to be on the verge of the sack with The Eagles slipping closer and closer to the bottom three and the relegation places. They were hammered 4-1 by arch-rivals Brighton and Hove Albion at the AMEX Stadium last weekend and begin the weekend sitting just five points above Everton in 18th.
It had been suggested, despite his own claims to the contrary, that Mauricio Pochettino was on the verge of the sack at Stamford Bridge but the former Tottenham boss earned a reprieve in midweek with The Blues pulling off an impressive 3-1 defeat of Aston Villa in their FA Cup fourth round replay. In the league, though, they slipped into the bottom-half last weekend, losing 4-2 at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
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In that aforementioned annihilation at the hands of Brighton last weekend, Michael Olise was introduced as a second-half substitute and he aggravated a hamstring injury that he had sustained a few days earlier against Sheffield United so he will now join Eberechi Eze on the sidelines.
Chelsea have struggled to accommodate Christopher Nkunku into the team when is available with Mauricio Pochettino preferring a midfield three of Enzo Fernandez, Conor Gallagher and Moises Caicedo. Cole Palmer replaced Nkunku up-front, too, in midweek, and Pochettino will be keen to remain unchanged after a strong win.
Crystal Palace: Henderson; Munoz, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Lerma, Richards, Hughs; Ayew, Mateta, Schlupp
Chelsea: Petrovic; Gusto, Disasi, Badiashile, Chilwell; Caicedo, Fernandez; Madueke, Gallagher, Jackson; Palmer
What they Said
Under pressure Hodgson has reiterated that he has the ‘resilience’ to turn things around at Crystal Palace but he did admit he is feeling the situation. “I’m not going to give you the satisfaction to say that it hurts me as it’s pretty obvious.”
Mauricio Pochettino, on the other hand, is upbeat after receiving a ‘good text’ as he described from the owners after their 4-2 loss to Wolves last weekend and he was keen to point out the impressive performance of Enzo Fernandez in midweek, emphasising the point that the ‘kid’ is a ‘world champion’.
When and How to Watch
This match will take place at Selhurst Park at 20:00 on Monday February 12th and will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK. It can also be streamed live via the Sky Go app.
Chelsea had an improved run of form over the New Year with three successive victories in the Premier League, beginning that run with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Crystal Palace. Whilst backing them to make it back-to-back victories at any stage this season is a risk, it would appear a fairly good bet for this one as they make the trip to south London to face a Palace side that may well be on the verge of making a change in the dugout should they lose.