Crystal Palace-Chelsea Preview

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·4 min read
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Frank Lampard believes some perspective is needed following Chelsea's slow start to the campaign and is confident his side will get better with time.

The Blues have taken four points from the first nine on offer in the Premier League - including a 3-3 draw at West Brom last week when trailing 3-0 at half-time - and were knocked out of the EFL Cup on penalties by Tottenham in midweek.

Lampard has been heavily backed in the transfer window with the arrival of seven players and insists it is now a case of now bedding in his new signings.

"We've gone and won at Brighton, which was a tough game," he said. "Then we lost to champions Liverpool with 10 men for 45 minutes, when it was nil-nil. Then at West Brom the first 30 minutes three clear mistakes make goals. Normally you lose those games but we've managed to get a point. So I think there's certainly some clear perspective that needs to go into our first three games.

"We're absolutely very early on in the season, as a group, with players that are now coming fit, and new signings that will be getting more settled every day that we train together and improve together. So I'm not concerned."

Chelsea have won their last five league meetings with Saturday's opponents Crystal Palace but the visitors are two points better off in the table, having kicked off their campaign with back-to-back wins before losing 2-1 to Everton last weekend.

And Palace boss Roy Hodgson - who previously managed Lampard during his time with England - agrees with the assessment that Chelsea need time to get going

"It's early days, isn't it? They're bedding in new players," he said. "I think they've made some excellent signings and have done some great business in terms of improving their team, improving their squad.

"I think three games is too early to assess any team, quite frankly. You're off to a good start or a poor start. Teams can look good or not in one game. We're planning of course a very tough game."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Chelsea - Mason Mount

Lampard leaped to the defence of young midfielder Mount following his costly miss in the shoot-out defeat to Tottenham on Tuesday. He has looked short on confidence but has been heavily involved in front of goal, creating six chances in the Premier League so far this season and firing in 15 shots, which is more than any of his team-mates.

Crystal Palace - Wilfried Zaha

The Ivory Coast international has looked back to his best in the early stages of 2020-21 and this is a fixture that he tends to make his mark on. Zaha has been involved in six goals in 12 Premier League games against Chelsea - three goals and three assists - making them his joint-favourite opponent in the competition, along with Leicester City.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Crystal Palace have won just two of their 11 Premier League away games against Chelsea (D1 L8), with those victories coming in consecutive visits in August 2015 and April 2017.

- None of the last 18 Premier League meetings between Chelsea and Palace have finished level, with the Blues winning 14 to Palace's four. Only Newcastle v Tottenham (21 between 1999-2010) and Chelsea v Sunderland (19 between 2002-2014) have seen longer runs without a draw in the competition.

- Chelsea have the best win rate in Premier League London derbies, with the Blues winning 132 of their 256 such games (51.6 per cent). Meanwhile, only Fulham (19.4 per cent) have a lower such win rate than Crystal Palace (23.1 per cent - 24/104).

- The Blues have not lost their opening two home league matches in a season since the 1978-79 campaign, when they went on to be relegated from the top flight.

- Palace are looking to win their opening two away Premier League matches of a season for the third time (also 1997-98 and 2015-16) and could become only the second team to win at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford in consecutive away Premier League games, after Sunderland in April/May 2014.