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Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview

Fernando Torres will replace Samuel Eto'o in a crucial match for both sides.
Fernando Torres will replace Samuel Eto'o in a crucial match for both sides.Sang Tan/Associated Press
Jason PettigroveContributor IMarch 29, 2014

Crystal Palace host table-toppers Chelsea at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon in a game that has huge implications at both ends of the table.

Tony Pulis' Palace side are on a dreadful run of form at present with only one win in their last six, per WhoScored.com.

Compare that to Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side, who have only lost once in their last 17 Premier League games, per WhoScored.

With so much at stake for either side, it's arguable who needs the three points more.

 

Date: Saturday, March 29

Time: 3 p.m. GMT/11 a.m. ET

Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra (U.S. only)

TV Info: NBC Extra (U.S. only), BBC1 Match of the Day (highlights packageU.K. only)

 

Preview

Tony Pulis will need his entire first XI to really put in a shift against their more illustrious London neighbours.
Tony Pulis will need his entire first XI to really put in a shift against their more illustrious London neighbours.Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Pulis will have to rouse his players from their slumber for his stumbling Palace side to have any chance at all in this game. Who would ever have thought that the return of Marouane Chamakh might be crucial to their stay in the division?!

The Moroccan has been missing for the last few games with a hamstring complaint, and in the meantime, Palace have failed to convert from open play.

Three points for Jose Mourinho's side will keep them at the top of the Premier League table.
Three points for Jose Mourinho's side will keep them at the top of the Premier League table.Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The home side now find themselves hovering perilously close to the Premier League trap door, just three points and one place above relegation.

Third-bottom Sunderland also have the luxury of a game in hand and a marginally better goal difference, per PremierLeague.com, so the need for a boost to Pulis' hopes of survival is obvious.

Just a point separates Chelsea at the top from second-placed Liverpool after the latter's win against Gus Poyet's struggling side on Wednesday night.

The Blues have defeated Palace in each of their last four meetings, per WhoScored, and Mourinho will need that sequence to continue to keep his side in pole position with just a few games left of the season.

 

Striking Options

Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres could prove crucial in this one.
Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres could prove crucial in this one.Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Samuel Eto'o's recent good form came to an abrupt end shortly after scoring the opener in the 6-0 drubbing of Arsenal.

That injury will see him sit this one out, but Mourinho will have no qualms at playing Fernando Torres in his place, the Spaniard looking for an extended run in the side with perhaps a view of putting himself in the shop window.

With Inter Milan reportedly interested in taking Torres to Italy, according to Hannah Duncan of Metro, this game could provide the ideal platform for Chelsea's £50 million misfit to showcase his talents.

Eden Hazard should reprise a free role just behind Torres, an area where if he is not tracked by the home side, he will be lethal and a potential game-winner.

Marouane Chamakh's return can't come quickly enough. Palace haven't scored from open play in their last five.
Marouane Chamakh's return can't come quickly enough. Palace haven't scored from open play in their last five.Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Cameron Jerome has been poor up front for Palace in the last few outings, and there is not much doubt that Chamakh will walk straight back into the starting XI if he is fit.

Pulis' sides are generally known more for their robust nature rather than footballing pedigree, and the manager will need his strikers to really put themselves about a bit and put in a shift in this one. 

 

At the Other End

John Terry and Gary Cahill have been excellent in the Chelsea defence.
John Terry and Gary Cahill have been excellent in the Chelsea defence.Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Chelsea's defence, John Terry and Gary Cahill in particular, have been magnificent this season, the former's contribution noted by Jose Mourinho in John Richardson's report for the Daily Express.

Cesar Azpilicueta's form has also been notable for the fact that he is keeping England's Ashley Cole out of the side. Not forgetting, of course, that the Spaniard's natural position is actually on the opposite side of the defence.

Only four league goals conceded in the Premier League all year, per WhoScored, is enough evidence of what a tough afternoon it is likely to be for the Crystal Palace forwards. 

BBC's Match of the Day underlined the point even further via their Twitter account:

Adept at dealing anything aerially, Terry can sometimes be exposed to pace and the ball in behind.

If the home side can get their creative players on the ball and their passing game going, there may be opportunities for the Eagles to spring a surprise.

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