Chelsea host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday in a 12:30pm kick-off at Stamford Bridge.
It’s been a disappointing start to the season for the Blues, with last weekend’s 3-3 draw at West Bromwich Albion followed up in midweek by a penalty shoot-out defeat at a weakened Tottenham Hotspur side in the EFL Cup.
Palace lost 2-1 at home to Everton last weekend after a painfully harsh handball gave the Toffees a first-half penalty, but Roy Hodgson will still be more than content with six points from three games.
Despite currently sitting above Frank Lampard’s side in the table, Palace are a massive 7/1 to win the match. The draw is 15/4, with a home win odds-on at 2/5.
As I wrote before their recent win at Old Trafford, I’m always tempted by Palace away from home at a big six club due to their pace and cohesion on the counter-attack. They should also benefit from a week off here after their premature exit in the cup.
However, Chelsea have won the last five meetings between the two sides, although they were very fortunate to come away from Selhurst Park with a 3-2 win in July.
They’re likely to remain without Billy Gilmour, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic through injury after Lampard admitted he does not want to risk the trio until after the forthcoming international break.
Palace, meanwhile, will not have loanee striker Michy Batshuayi to call upon as he is ineligible to face his parent club. Defenders Gary Cahill, Patrick van Aanholt, Scott Dann, James Tomkins and Nathan Ferguson are likely to remain on the sidelines.
Timo Werner scored his first goal for Chelsea in midweek and he’s 19/20 (Sky Bet) to get off the mark in the Premier League against Palace. Kai Havertz, who was rested in midweek, is 15/8 (also Sky Bet) to do likewise.
For the visitors, Jordan Ayew is 15/4 (bet365) and Wilfried Zaha is 4/1 (Unibet) to score anytime. Zaha scored a thunderbolt in the aforementioned 3-2 defeat to the Blues and has three goals in three league games so far this season.
With Chelsea likely to have some tired legs in midfield, I can definitely see Palace getting chances on the break and potentially scoring, while Chelsea have failed to score just twice in their last 15 league games.
The likes of Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante will almost certainly be forced into tactical fouling at certain points in order to protect their vulnerable back-line, so even with the fairly lenient Michael Oliver in charge, I can see Chelsea picking up at least one card here.
Palace, meanwhile, have picked up six yellow cards in their three league games and will have their hands full defending most of the game.
My bet365 Bet Builder, then, will be Over 1 Goal for Both Teams Combined and Over 0 Cards for each team at odds of 4/5. This way we don’t need both teams to score, even if I do think it will land.