Chelsea have the opportunity to end the year on a high note when they take on Crystal Palace on the road this weekend. The Blues are currently holding a slender two-point lead over Arsenal for the final Champions League position and they have the chance to potentially extend the gap further with the Gunners having a tough challenge at Liverpool.
Kepa Arrizabalaga has been Maurizio Sarri’s preferred pick between the sticks for the league duties this term and no change is expected for the weekend despite the Spaniard witnessing a couple of shaky moments against Watford on Boxing Day.
In the defence, Sarri has largely resisted the prospect of rotating the squad and the Italian may not take a risk with a Palace side, who generally up their game against the elite teams.
In this case, Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso should feature on the right and left side of the defence respectively with David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger occupying the heart of the backline.
Onto the midfield, Jorginho should once more take up the holding midfield role with N’Golo Kante ahead of him. Alongside them, we are anticipating a start for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who could take advantage of familiar surroundings after being on loan with the Eagles last term.
Further forward, both Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi are on the sidelines with injuries and this may tempt Sarri to go with a centre-forward rather than playing an additional midfielder.
In this regard, we are fancying Eden Hazard and Willian to slot into the right and left wing respectively while Olivier Giroud could lead the line ahead of Alvaro Morata, who has witnessed no action since returning from a knee injury.