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Chelsea vs Crystal Palace: Premier League preview, team news, stats, prediction, kick-off time

Romelu Lukaku will not be involved while Crystal Palace are without Conor Gallagher; follow Chelsea vs Crystal Palace in our dedicated live match blog; watch free match highlights on Sky Sports digital platforms and YouTube channel at 5.15pm

AP - Romelu Lukaku
Image: Romelu Lukaku will not feature against Crystal Palace

Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Chelsea vs Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Team news

Chelsea's record signing Romelu Lukaku will not be involved in his side's Premier League opener at home to Crystal Palace.

Striker Lukaku joined the Blues for a reported £97.5m on Thursday, but the transfer from Inter Milan was not concluded in time for him to feature on Saturday afternoon.

Hakim Ziyech is sidelined due to the shoulder injury he sustained in the midweek UEFA Super Cup success against Villarreal, while N'Golo Kante has "some issues" following that match and is a doubt.

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Christian Benteke says it was important to sign his new contract before Euro 2020 and demonstrate his commitment to Crystal Palace ahead of the new season

New Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira is without summer loan signing Conor Gallagher for the trip to Stamford Bridge.

The midfielder joined the Eagles from Chelsea and is ineligible to face his parent club, while captain Luka Milivojevic will be absent due to personal reasons.

Ebere Eze and Nathan Ferguson are long-term absentees after both ruptured their Achilles in May. Michael Olise, who joined from Reading in July, is out with a back injury but due to return to training this month, and the Eagles are set to give debuts to defenders Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen on Saturday.

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How to follow

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Nedum Onuoha believes Lukaku could be the final piece to take Chelsea to another level after his transfer back to the club from Inter Milan

Follow Chelsea vs Crystal Palace in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel at 5.15pm.

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    Ahead of the opening round of the 2021/22 Premier League season, we take a look at the best stats for Matchweek one's fixtures

    Opta stats

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    Thomas Tuchel believes Lukaku has the perfect qualities, physique and personality to be a success at Chelsea after rejoining the club from Inter Milan
    • Chelsea have won 16 of their last 20 Premier League meetings with Crystal Palace (L4), including each of the last seven in a row.
    • After winning back-to-back away league games against Chelsea in 2015-16 and 2016-17, Crystal Palace have lost their last four visits to Stamford Bridge by an aggregate score of 11-2.
    • Chelsea have lost their opening match in two of the last four Premier League seasons (W2), as many as they had in the previous 23 campaigns (W16 D5 L2).
    • Crystal Palace have won two of their last three season openers in the Premier League (D1), keeping a clean sheet in all three matches. The Eagles had won just two of their previous 15 top-flight openers (D4 L9).
    • Chelsea lost two of their last three Premier League games of the 2020-21 season, more than they had in their previous 16 under manager Thomas Tuchel (W10 D5 L1).

    Jones Knows' Prediction

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    Tuchel is confident Chelsea can build on their exciting Super Cup triumph and feels the arrival of Lukaku will help the team progress

    An odds-on favourite taking on a lowly-ranked team rolling the dice with a new management appointment - these aren't the types of matches that get my punting juices flowing. I will be watching on closely though to see how Crystal Palace go about their business under Patrick Vieira, who never lost as a player against Chelsea in 10 meetings in the Premier League. He'll need to get them expertly organised against the European champions. Thomas Tuchel's boys will be in stranglehold mode with the ball for this one and play with their usual control once in front.

    Like last season, this has led me to think a low-scoring Chelsea win is the smartest type of play in such a fixture, with Sky Bet offering 10/11 for Chelsea to win and under 3.5 goals in the match - a bet that would have landed in Chelsea home games against similarly-ranked opposition like Everton, Burnley, Newcastle and Fulham last season.


    BETTING ANGLE: Chelsea to win and under 3.5 goals in match (10/11 with Sky Bet)

    The Essential Football Podcast: 21/22 Premier League season preview

    The Premier League is back! New signings, new teams, old rivalries resumed and fresh hope, all to the sweet sound of full stadiums. Kate Burlaga is joined by Nick Wright and Gerard Brand to preview another nine months of drama in the top flight.

    PART 1: Are City still the side to beat? And who will challenge them? Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool assessed

    PART 2: Will the north London gloom lift? Leicester in focus and surprise package: Leeds, Aston Villa and Everton tipped

    PART 3: How will promoted trio Brentford, Watford and Norwich fare? Plus: New managers assessed, and can West Ham deal with European distraction?

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