Crystal Palace vs Chelsea 15:00
Crystal Palace fell to a 1-0 defeat at St James’ Park last time out thanks to a late Papiss Cisse header. The Eagles remain perched just above the relegation zone and face a tough test against the Blues to take anything away from this weekend.
Mile Jedinak has happily taken on the role of Palace’s midfielder enforcer this season. He would do well to mind his technique against a talent Chelsea midfield this weekend though given that he ranks first on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for fouls conceded with 55. The Blue possess the players to hurt Palace so their captain will have to be on his guard.
Although more noted for his ability with the ball at his feet, nonetheless Yannick Bolasie has been impressive when attempting to reclaim possession of the ball for his side. He so far has the best tackle success rate of any Palace player, winning 81% of his 42 attempted challenges this term.
Jason Puncheon remains one of the main driving attacking forces behind this Palace team, carving out chances with solid regularity. No Palace player has had more attempted shots on goal than Puncheon with 38. Puncheon is 7/1 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
A superb all-round performance from Chelsea saw them demolish Arsenal 6-0 at Stamford Bridge last weekend in what was a clear statement of intent as we approach the business end of the season.
Chelsea’s young Belgian winger Eden Hazard has been in rare form this season, developing into perhaps the most important attacking weapon at Jose Mourinho’s disposal at Stamford Bridge. He leads the league for dribbles this campaign with 116 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Imposing centre-half Branislav Ivanovic is always an intimidating proposition for any frontman but the Serbian doesn’t just rely on his physical presence to get the job done, his defensive technique is often outstanding as well. He currently has the best tackle success rate of any Chelsea player to have attempted more than five tackles, winning 80% of his 70 challenges this term.
Key to negating the destructive impact of the likes of Mile Jedinak this weekend for Chelsea could be the movement and interplay of their explosive front three, none more so than the dynamic Willian. He has reveled in the extra pressure placed on him by Jose Mourinho, utilising his athleticism and technique to great effect. Currently only Eden Hazard has a better minutes per pass ratio than Willian, the Brazilian racking up, on average, a pass in the opponent’s half every 2.8 minutes he’s been on the pitch this term. Willian is 56/19 to get himself on the scoresheet this weekend with 888sport.com.