Crystal Palace v Chelsea preview: Alvaro Morata, N'Golo Kante to miss out for the visitors
Last Updated: 14/10/17 8:47am
Chelsea will not be able to call on the services of Alvaro Morata or N'Golo Kante against Crystal Palace on Saturday as both are ruled out with injury.
Kante limped off in the first half of France's 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Bulgaria last Saturday and boss Antonio Conte is resigned to being without him for the rest of October.
"In Kante's situation you have to have another scan to understand the situation very well," Conte said.
"He is a big loss for us because we know very well the importance of Kante to our team and we don't have another player with his characteristics."
Danny Drinkwater (calf) and Alvaro Morata (hamstring) will also miss the trip to Selhurst Park against a Palace side who have not scored or recorded a point after seven Premier League matches.
Wilfried Zaha is available for Crystal Palace as he has recovered from a knee injury suffered against Huddersfield on the opening day of the season.
Hodgson's first-choice goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey faces a late fitness test on Saturday, having suffered a calf injury on international duty with Wales. Christian Benteke also remains sidelined with a knee injury.
Chelsea expect to be without midfielder N'Golo Kante for three weeks due to the hamstring injury he suffered on international duty.
Conte also looks set to be without Danny Drinkwater, who has a calf problem, and Alvaro Morata (hamstring) picked up against Manchester City on September 30, but initial fears of a long lay-off have receded.
Crystal Palace have won only one of their previous eight Premier League matches against Chelsea at Selhurst Park (W1 D1 L6), winning 1-0 in March 2014 under Tony Pulis.
Chelsea (421) have won more points in Premier League London derbies than any other side in the competition's history (P232 W119 D64 L49).
Crystal Palace could become the first team in Football League history to lose nine consecutive games without scoring - on only three other occasions have a team lost eight games in a row without scoring and only once in the top flight (Sunderland between November 1976 and January 1977).
Chelsea have failed to score in two of their last three Premier League matches under Antonio Conte, as many as in their previous 36. The Blues only failed to score in three of their 38 league games last season and have already drawn a blank in two of their seven so far this term.
Cesc Fabregas (49 goals) could become just the third Spanish player to net 50 goals in the Premier League after Diego Costa (52) and Fernando Torres (85). Fabregas could be the first Spanish midfielder to reach this milestone.
Paul Merson's prediction
This is a hard game for Chelsea without N'Golo Kante or Alvaro Morata. They are two massive players and not having them will make a difference.
But Chelsea still have a good defence and Palace don't have Christian Benteke so it will be hard for them to score. Man City were on fire against Chelsea and still only scored once, and that was a 'worldie', so that is what Palace are up against.
PAUL PREDICTS: 0-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)
Chelsea are odds-on at 2/5 with Sky Bet as Crystal Palace go up against odds of 7/1 for the win and 7/2 just to secure their first point with a draw. Michy Batshuayi heads the first goalscorer betting at 11/4 in Alvaro Morata's absence while Eden Hazard is enhanced from 100/30 to 9/2 to break the deadlock in Sky Bet's Price Boosts.
Crystal Palace v Chelsea is included in this weekend's bonus Super 6 round, with £250,000 up for grabs again. Enter your predictions for free here.