Crystal Palace vs Chelsea preview, betting tips and prediction: Blues to pile misery on Roy Hodgson

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Chelsea to win and Eden Hazard to score first @ 7/2 on Betfair

Chelsea to win 2-0 @ 5/1 on Betfair

Chelsea to win with a -2 handicap @ 10/3 on Betfair

The incredibly tough fixtures keep coming for Crystal Palace this season. Roy Hodgson has already faced and lost to both Manchester clubs, while the Eagles lost at Liverpool in the extremely short-lived reign of Frank de Boer. Life is not about to get any easier, with Chelsea gearing up to travel to South London on Saturday.

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After a poor start to the campaign with a 3-2 home defeat to Burnley, Chelsea have steadied the ship. But losing to Manchester City last week will give them the hunger to put things right at Selhurst Park. They may be without striker Alvaro Morata, who has been in incredible form this season, after he picked up a hamstring problem, but that will give Michy Batshuayi another chance to stake his claim after he netted the winner in the Champions League against Atletico Madrid recently. Our betting tip, though, is for Eden Hazard to take the game by the scruff of the neck and put in his best performance since returning from a serious ankle problem this term.

Crystal Palace have made the worst start to a season in Premier League history, losing all seven games without scoring and conceding 18 goals. Of course, their streak will come to an end at some stage, but it is tough to see that happening against the Premier League champions, who have been free scoring on the road recently. Antonio Conte will look to consolidate first, and he could be missing N’Golo Kante in midfield after he picked up an injury on international duty. Palace have already got no strikers, with Christian Benteke now a long-term absentee, and they will be without their main creative force in Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who is on loan from Stamford Bridge and cannot play against his parent club.

One saving grace for Palace is the return to fitness of Wilfred Zaha. He and Andros Townsend could find space in behind the Chelsea wingbacks, but Chelsea are masters of game-management and if Kante is fit particularly, they shouldn’t have many problems. 2-0 is a good bet at 5/1, but if Palace’s heads drop late on, just as they did at Manchester United, it could get much worse.

Key battle: Cesc Fabregas vs Yohan Cabaye

Crystal Palace are going to sit deep and look to frustrate Chelsea, which will not suit them too well. Cabaye will be the key to them getting higher up the pitch, but Fabregas will look to force them back by driving forward or playing passes in behind for Hazard and Pedro or Willian.

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The pinned back they are, the softer their resistance, and Conte may well demand more energy from Fabregas for this game. Hazard will drift inside too, allowing the fullbacks to get forward. Cabaye and his midfield partner simply cannot afford to get outnumbered, because that will give Chelsea license to break through the lines with ease.

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