Crystal Palace vs Chelsea - Predictions, Betting Odds & Picks
- The Champions League race could go down to the wire as Chelsea seeks top-four finish
- Palace’s season is in real danger of fizzling out and its display at Leicester was concerning
- Chelsea has struggled against this type of opponent but should find a way through here
|What||Crystal Palace vs Chelsea|
|Where||Selhurst Park, London, England|
|When||Tuesday, 7 July 2020, 1 PM EST|
|How to watch||NBC Sports|
It has been a momentous week in the race for the Champions League qualification spots. Manchester United has been the big winner, emerging victorious from clashes with Brighton and Hove Albion and Bournemouth to extend its unbeaten run to nine games in the Premier League.
Leicester City has dropped back into the race after a poor run of form since the restart, although it did give its hopes a major boost by beating Crystal Palace 3-0 on Saturday. Wolverhampton Wanderers, meanwhile, defeated Aston Villa before losing to Arsenal, and Chelsea also took three points from the last six available.
Last week’s 3-2 defeat by West Ham United was a huge blow for the Blues, particularly as the winning goal came so late in the match. It was vital that it bounced back against Watford on Sunday – and Frank Lampard’s side duly delivered, cruising to a 3-0 triumph that keeps it two points clear of United.
Chelsea must target fourth spot, with Manchester City increasingly confident of its prospects of overturning a two-season ban from European competition that would, if upheld, allow this season’s fifth-place finishers to qualify for the Champions League.
Anything less than all three points against Crystal Palace could therefore be damaging, but the recent performances of Roy Hodgson’s men suggest Chelsea should not experience too many problems at Selhurst Park on Tuesday.
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea Odds
|Chelsea to win to nil||Odds|
Odds taken from DraftKings
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Palace is safe from relegation which is part of the reason for its recent slide, but it has had a blunt attack throughout this season. Hodgson’s side has found the net only 28 times in 2019/20, a tally that every other team in the division can better with the exception of last-placed Norwich City.
Chelsea has had its defensive problems this term, particularly from set-pieces. But it will control possession at Selhurst Park and should be able to protect its backline with a proactive approach, which makes a win to nil look tempting at the odds available.
Chelsea Must Tighten up Defense to Get Over Line in Champions League Race
With 44 goals conceded, Chelsea has the joint-second worst defensive record in the top half of the Premier League at the time of writing. As mentioned above, it is particularly vulnerable from set-pieces, having let in nine goals from corners alone this term, a weakness that Lampard himself acknowledged after the West Ham defeat.
Chelsea has already completed deals to sign two attackers, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, this summer, but the powers that be at Stamford Bridge will surely need to sanction a move for a defender or two. In the meantime, the best way Lampard can improve Chelsea’s defensive record is by making his team more compact out of possession to avoid being counter-attacked on so easily.
Wilfried Zaha is one of the most dangerous wingers in the league when he is on the form, but Palace has few other weapons with which to hurt Chelsea in open play. As long as the Blues avoid sloppiness in possession, a clean sheet is well within reach.
Palace Has Been Poor in Its Last Two Outings and Is in Danger of Drifting
In its 4-0 thrashing by Liverpool last month, Palace achieved the ignominious feat of becoming the first team in more than 10 years to fail to have a single touch in the opposition’s penalty area. It was a disappointing display by the Eagles, but one that could be excused by taking Liverpool’s strengths into account.
The same cannot be said for subsequent reverses against Burnley and Leicester. Brendan Rodgers’ side may be third in the table but it was without a victory since March ahead of Palace’s visit to the King Power Stadium at the weekend. Despite that, Palace rarely laid a glove on a team that had been short of confidence following a poor run of form.
Palace is frequently too passive and Hodgson will probably instruct his players to sit deep and standoff Chelsea here. That should work to the visitor’s advantage, allowing it to get into a passing rhythm as it seeks to prise Palace open.
Chelsea Should Be Able to Contain One of the Weakest Attacks in the Division
Chelsea has an excellent away record this season, despite that loss to West Ham last midweek. The reason it has emerged triumphant on the road more often than most is because of its proactive approach combined with opponents’ greater willingness to push up the pitch and leave space in behind when playing on its own patch.
Palace will be disciplined and dogged against Chelsea, and the absence of supporters will mean Hodgson’s players are even more unlikely than usual to over-commit in the attack. The Blues will have to remain patient but should ultimately find a way through.
Take the Yes option here – Palace offers very little in attack and Chelsea’s pressure should eventually tell.