Premier League: Will Palace prove a point against Chelsea?

The Eagles are one draw away from safety, but David Johnstone hopes that doesn't come at the expense of the Blues' Champions League ambitions.

David Johnstone

With Crystal Palace needing just a point to be mathematically assured of avoiding the drop – they are, with five games remaining 15 points clear of Aston Villa who, as I write, sit in the third relegation spot.

So it must be hoped that Roy Hodgson’s side take their foot off the metaphorical ‘gas’ and allow Chelsea the time and the space they need in order to maintain their challenge for one of the top four places.

Frank Lampard’s team, in comfortably beating Watford 3-0 in their last fixture, made amends for the terrible 3-2 defeat that relegation-haunted West Ham United inflicted upon them last Wednesday evening.

After a poor evening’s display at the Olympic Stadium and making several changes to his starting line-up for the Watford fixture, the Chelsea manager again left out Jorginho, leaving many to speculate about the Brazilian’s future at Stamford Bridge.

Wilfred Zaha Crystal Palace

A favourite of Lampard’s predecessor at Chelsea in Maurizio Sarri, a move to Italian Serie A side Juventus for the midfielder between the end of this campaign and the start of next season will come as no surprise at all to many Chelsea observers.

The reintroduction of Kurt Zouma and Reece James in place of Antonio Rudiger and Marcos Alonso respectively was warmly greeted by a sizeable swathe of those who follow Chelsea’s fortunes but, as people who know me will testify, I am not one who will take to social media to give my thoughts on the virtues (or not) of any player wearing the Chelsea colours.

Instead, I prefer to give my 100% backing to the players named by the manager who, after all is said and done, has more knowledge about Chelsea Football Club and its playing staff in his little finger than the entire and collective number of those who continue to promote their frankly worthless thoughts on the merits of any Blues player via the various forms of social media.

Personally, I feel it’s a shame that Gary Cahill will not be able to again receive the grateful thanks of what would have been the travelling support when he takes to the field to face his former side.

The man who came to Chelsea in January 2012 and left at the end of last season after collecting winners medals in the Champions League, the Europa League, The Premier League, the FA Cup and the League Cup in a seven-year stint at Stamford Bridge deserves the plaudits for what he achieved in his time at Chelsea and, for this particular correspondent at least, he’s ‘up there’ amongst some of the greatest of greats who’ve played for the club.

Last season’s encounter at Selhurst Park saw Chelsea come away with all three points after N’Golo Kante notched the only goal of the game whilst this season’s reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge finished in a 2-0 win, the goals coming courtesy of Tammy Abraham and the ‘player of the moment’, the absolutely fantastic Christian Pulisic.

Although there have been accusations that the 22-year old’s transfer from German side Borussia Dortmund was simply a ploy to aid shirt sales in his native USA, there is no doubting the player’s ability and, should he continue to ply his trade with Chelsea, he’ll continue to receive the adulation from the Blues faithful for many years to come.

Loathe as I am to attempt to predict the result of Chelsea’s visit to South London, let alone the final score, I will – as ever – leave you with the mantra that, in my opinion, should be ingrained in the minds of every Chelsea supporter the moment they decide to follow the club; ‘Win or lose, Up The Blues!’

About the Author

David JohnstoneLondoner David Johnstone is a home, away and European away Chelsea supporter and has missed just six matches since 2001 (although he’s quick to state there are plenty of other supporters with better attendance records than him).

He has been involved with the fanzine scene at Chelsea since around 1991 and started the ‘cfcuk’ fanzine in 1999 which was, until Mr Abramovich bought the club in 2003, named ‘Matthew Harding’s Blue And White Army’.

David was also responsible for forming both the Chelsea Supporters’ Group and the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust which are the main two bodies that represent the followers of Chelsea FC and take their concerns to those running the club.

A founder of the highly regarded Chelsea FanCast weekly podcast (but is no longer involved) and responsible for the crowd surfing banners and supporter displays that are seen in the Matthew Harding Stand at Stamford Bridge on matchdays.

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