The unbeatables? Pardew heaps praise on title favourites Chelsea

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Alan Pardew has paid Antonio Conte’s Chelsea the ultimate compliment ahead of Saturday’s clash between the two clubs, with the Crystal Palace manager suggesting that the league leaders are close to invincible at present.

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The Stamford Bridge outfit head into this weekend’s early kick-off at Selhurst Park with a six-point lead at the top of the table and off the back of an unbeaten run of seven games that has seen them installed as clear title favourites.

Key to that has been former Italy head coach Conte, whose summer arrival sparked an immediate resurgence for the previously underperforming west Londoners.

And previewing the tricky fixture against the Italian’s title chasers, a philosophical Pardew heaped praise on his opposite number for quickly getting to grips with English football in a manner that has made Chelsea look unbeatable at times so far this campaign.

“Coming from Serie A, it’s a different type of football. Conte’s got to grips with the Premier League [quickly],” he told reporters at his pre-match press conference.

“He’s been helped by his players having history in the Premier League, but he’s done a fantastic job. They look unbeatable at the moment.

“His man management [has been good]. Hazard and Costa are a different proposition to last year and they’ll admit that. Fabregas too.”

With the odds stacked against him on Saturday, Pardew will be buoyed by the news that Chelsea’s Eden Hazard remains an injury doubt for the game after missing the midweek win away at Sunderland with a troublesome knee injury.

16th place Palace lie just three points off the relegation zone heading into the encounter, and need three crucial points to stave off the threat of the drop.

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