Chelsea v Crystal Palace
Live on Sky Sports 1
After a long Premier League slog, Jose Mourinho and Chelsea know that it comes down to this simple fact – win here against Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon and the title is theirs.
The age-old footballing cliché that ‘the league table doesn’t lie’ is also a truism; Chelsea have been by far the best side in this division all season, will be worthy winners of the Premier League title whether it happens in this game or not. At time of writing they’re 13 points clear with just four games to play and the only reason they haven’t been coronated already is because Arsenal have a rogue game in hand that could reduce the deficit to ten.
Going into this game there are doubts over the fitness of Diego Costa and Loic Remy, but aside from that Mourinho has a full squad to choose from.
If goal difference is taken into account, Crystal Palace are safe from relegation with four games to play, and in reality they’ve been safe for a lot longer than that. Alan Pardew has come in to the club he served so well as a player and reinvented the side into a confident, decent-looking outfit that belong in the nation’s top flight.
There has been evidence of collective feet being taken off the gas recently, however – disappointing results against West Brom and Hull in their last two outings mean the chance of a top half finish is now slim, and Pardew and his team will now be thinking about what can be achieved next season.
There is no doubt that Pardew will delight in spoiling the Chelsea party though, and his tenacious side cannot be written off and dismissed out of hand.
Chelsea are of course favourites to win this game at [1.37] and I’m quite surprised to not see them shorter here actually – winning the title at Stamford Bridge as soon as possible is something that will interest this group of players and management greatly, and they won’t want to wait until next week to do it against Liverpool.
Crystal Palace, who have a fair few players unavailable, are in semi-holiday mode, and a back of them even at a chunky [11.5] doesn’t hold much interest for me.
The Draw is available at [5.4].
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
I think, despite his protestations, the allegations from the media and other teams of Chelsea playing ‘boring’ football against Arsenal has hurt Mourinho. He visibly bristled when he was attempting to shrug it off, and this to me points towards him asking his team to win in style on Sunday. Over 2.5 Goals is available to back at [1.86] and that’s where my money will be going.
I can’t believe we are seeing Chelsea at odds-against to win this game with a single goal handicap – [2.08] to me seems very generous for a team gunning for the title who are far better than their opponents and playing at home.
There isn’t a part of me that sees Palace getting so much of a sniff here – they’ve already achieved more than they thought they would before Pardew came in, and there is bound to be a bit of inertia around the team, despite the Palace manager enjoying spoiling exactly this sort of occasion.
Back Over 2.5 Goals at [1.86]Back Chelsea-1 at [2.08]
Luke Moore Premier League P/L