Chelsea will be without John Terry as he serves his one match suspension for the visit of Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace.
Oscar is also a doubt as he recovers from a calf strain, and Victor Moses is the only definite injury absentee. The Nigeria international is out with a groin problem, and faces another fortnight on the sidelines. Kurt Zouma will likely be JT’s replacement in the heart of defence. Abdul Baba Rahman could make his debut after his recent transfer from FC Augsburg. Pedro Rodriguez will likely keep his place in the team after a stellar debut away to West Brom.
The man they call Pardiola has various selection issues to overcome, as no less than nine players may be unavailable to him.
Marouane Chamakh is lacking match fitness and Dwight Gayle is suffering with his calf. Keeper Julian Speroni has a finger injury and recent signing Connor Wickham is rated 50-50 as he returns from a rib injury. Frazier Campbell and Mile Jedinak are both definitely out of contention, both with hamstring problems. Patrick Bamford is ineligible, as per the terms of his loan agreement with us.
Arguably the biggest loss for Pardew is injury doubts to his star wingers Yannick Bolasie and Wilf Zaha, as Bolasie is short of match fitness and Zaha has a calf strain. That said, the Eagles still have the dangerous duo of widemen Bakary Sako and Jason Puncheon should neither of his preferred pairing feature. Given Branislav Ivanovic in particular and his inauspicious start to the season, Mourinho will be more than aware we could be in for a difficult afternoon given Palace’s plethora of wide talent.
What is heartening for Chelsea’s faithful is we have not lost to Crystal Palace, who currently sit 5th at this early stage in the Barclays Premier League season, at Stamford Bridge since 1982, and in fact Palace have only beaten Chelsea six times since the clubs first met back in 1906. That said, Crystal Palace beat us in 2014, when John Terry scored past his own keeper in a 1-0 loss at Selhurst Park.
After a poor start to the campaign, which included a humbling 3-0 loss to title contenders Manchester City, Jose Mourinho will be all too aware that a win here will be the perfect way to kickstart their season and defence of their title. However, against a Palace side who are developing a reputation for being a banana skin for top sides and, under the tutelage of Alan Pardew, are easily dark horses for European places or cup success this season, Chelsea cannot expect this to be a gimme. A win here – and moreover a win with a clean sheet, after conceding twice against bottom side West Brom last weekend – will begin to banish that stuttering start and get our title defence well and truly under way.