The Premier League returns this weekend after what feels like a very lengthy international break, especially if you’re an England fan! It brings a bumper list of fixtures, including the Manchester Derby and two London Derbies. Arsenal host Tottenham as they go head-to-head in North London, as Crystal Palace host Chelsea at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.
Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace side, look for their first win in 3 games, after drawing twice and losing once before the Premier League was paused. The Eagles have had a lengthy spell away from the Premier League as their games due to be played against Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United were postponed due to unforeseen circumstances.
The fixture looks to be an interesting one for the Blues, as Graham Potter takes on his first Premier League game as Chelsea boss. He got a taste for life in West London just before the international break, as Chelsea took on RB Salzburg in the Champions League. There were a few positives from the game, but it was very clear a lot of work needed to be done. Therefore, it’ll be interesting to see how things have changed with Potter’s Chelsea team, as they come back from the international break.
The Eagles have a few injuries to their squad. Goalkeeper Jack Butland has a broken wrist, and defender Nathan Ferguson has a muscular problem, but they are both expected to return soon. As for their other injured squad members, James McArthur and James Tomkins, will have to wait a little longer until they can return to the field. Palace’s squad is strong and there are plenty of options for Vieira to ponder going into tomorrow’s meeting with Chelsea. Vieira did admit that the international break has been a hinderance to his side, stating that “training was challenging,” and that the length of time between their competitive games has been inconvenient for him and his team.
As for Chelsea, they travel to South London with the squad a little lighter than what Graham Potter would have wanted. The new Chelsea head coach has revealed in a press conference today that Edouard Mendy is not yet fit to play inbetween the sticks but is set to return within the next week.
However, Chelsea are still without star midfielder N’Golo Kante after he picked up a hamstring against Tottenham at the start of the season. The Frenchman has missed the last 6 games through injury. Potter stated that Kante has “been on the grass but not really fully training.” He also added that defender Marc Cucurella will also miss Saturday’s game through illness, and that the Blues are also without the option of Carney Chukwuemeka.
Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher faces his first game against his former club, after having a stellar season on loan at Selhurst Park last season. The game looks to be one that could start out quite cagey. Potter takes on his first Premier League game for Chelsea, and battles with the absence of key players. Whereas Vieira battles with the issue that his players haven’t performed as a unit in so long, with their last Premier League fixture being almost a month ago. Both teams will be trying to find their feet and will both be itching to play. It looks like it’s going to be an interesting fixture for the spectators in South London.