Chelsea-Crystal Palace Preview
European Football Headlines
New Chelsea head coach Graham Potter believes saying finishing top four is vital is "a bit dramatic" as he prepares for his first Premier League game as Blues boss away at Crystal Palace.
Potter arrived at Stamford Bridge from Brighton and Hove Albion in September, replacing the sacked Thomas Tuchel, but has only since taken charge of the 1-1 Champions League home draw with Salzburg.
And the 47-year-old is keen to maintain a long-term strategy with the club and not be weighed down by this season's expectations.
"Vital sounds a bit life or death and a bit dramatic," Potter replied when asked about the importance of making top four. "I can't control people's perception or what we're looking at in May, I only focus on the next game or next session.
"(It's) a bit more than a short term challenge. The resources, or history doesn't guarantee you anything in this league. It's about getting everything lined up and everyone working together and the strategy clear."
Potter's first Premier League opponents as Chelsea boss are Crystal Palace, who themselves have not been in action since September 3 after seeing two games postponed.
And Eagles manager Patrick Vieira admits the break has been a test, but also spoke of his excitement on facing Chelsea.
"Training has been challenging of course because the last time we played a competitive game was quite a while ago," he said. "It was challenging to keep players focused I would say, but we're looking forward to the game. We'll face of course one of the best teams in the Premier League and we will be ready for that."
Crystal Palace – Wilfried Zaha
The Eagles talisman has scored four goals in five matches to start the Premier League season, and will hope to add to that tally against the Blues.
Chelsea – Christian Pulisic
The United States international has been in and out of the Blues team so far this season but will fancy his chances of scoring if he features here, having scored five goals in five Premier League starts against the Eagles, with three of these coming at Selhurst Park.
- This will be Potter's first Premier League match in charge of Chelsea. Excluding caretakers, just one of the last 10 managers to take charge of the Blues has lost their first league match (won six, drawn three), though that was the only other permanent English manager they have had in that time (Frank Lampard, 0-4 vs Manchester United in August 2019).
- Since a 2-1 win against Chelsea in October 2017, Crystal Palace have lost each of their last nine league games against the Blues – only against Liverpool (10) have the Eagles lost more consecutively in their league history.
- None of the last 22 Premier League meetings between Crystal Palace and Chelsea have been drawn, with the Blues winning 18 of those to the Eagles' four. It is the longest run without a draw between two sides in the competition's history.
- Chelsea have won eight of their last nine away Premier League London derbies, with the exception being a 3-2 loss at West Ham last season. The Blues have kept seven clean sheets in this run, conceding four goals.
- Chelsea are averaging 11.7 shots-per-game in the Premier League this season (70 shots in six games), their lowest average on record across a season in the competition (since 1997-98).
Updated September 30, 2022