Crystal Palace can pounce on out-of-form Chelsea to pinch point
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | January 1, 2016
Crystal Palace v Chelsea
- Premier League
- Sunday, January 2nd
- Kick-off: 13:30 GMT
- Selhurst Park, south London
- Live on Sky Sports 1
Top six where Eagles dare?
Crystal Palace and Chelsea have two wins apiece in their last four head-to-heads, but injuries mean that neither team are worth siding with for a Premier League victory in their first outing of 2016.
Coral making Guus Hididnk’s Blues 21/20 favourites to beat the Eagles at Selhurst Park has little foundation when punters consider the Stamford Bridge side have won just one of their last six top-flight fixtures.
Nor do Alan Pardew’s high-flying Palace, who start the New Year in the top six, appeal for victory at 11/4. Backing a draw, though, is not without merit at 9/4.
Respective attacks missing firepower
It’s a simple choice between Diego Costa and Eden Hazard to lead Chelsea’s attack across the capital, with Radamel Falcao still struggling with a thigh problem and Hiddink insistent that Aston Villa target Loic Remy has a calf injury.
Patrick Bamford would’ve been ineligible against his parent club, but has returned to the Blues from Selhurst after failing to make an impact in his loan spell there. The Palace attack is also definitely missing Yannick Bolasie and Connor Wickham, while Bakary Sako is still struggling.
Add in a suspension for home team playmaker Yohan Cabaye, and 0-0 is a 7/1 shout to be the final score. Since smashing Pardew’s old club Newcastle United 5-1, his Eagles have managed just four goals in five Premier League games and have endured successive stalemates since Christmas.
Couple that with Chelsea drawing a blank in half of their previous six domestic outings, and the 15/8 on offer in the total match goals market for under 1.5 looks worth a wager. This reflects the recent history of the fixture with all five meetings of Palace’s current top-flight stint decided by the odd goal.
Hard to see where goals come from
If there is to be a scorer for the visitors in this London derby, then Eden Hazard (7/4 anytime) and Oscar (2/1 in the same market) both have goals against the Eagles to their credit.
Costa, meanwhile, takes some justifying at evens to find the target, with hedging bets on the above or fellow Brazil native Willian, who is a superb 7/2 to add to a decent return of seven in all competitions with many from free-kicks.
It’s all about mercurial talents Marouane Chamakh (2/1) and Wilfried Zaha (11/4) for the hosts, with so many of Pardew’s attacking ensemble absent. Everything points, then, to a draw.