Chelsea v Crystal Palace
Live on Sky Sports Premier League
Blues building momentum
Wednesday's scrappy win in the Frank Lampard Clásico is unlikely to stop Maurizio Sarri ringing the changes on Sunday, but the Italian will no doubt have been pleased enough with what he saw. It's now 15 games unbeaten since the start of the season, and it's always helpful to maintain momentum in the cup competitions, especially when it keeps squad players fit and interested.
The Blues now refocus their attention on the Premier League, and with last weekend's demolition job at Burnley still fresh in the memory, they'll be confident of adding three more points to their tally against a struggling Crystal Palace side.
The expected return of Eden Hazard, fit again after a minor injury, only furthers their cause; the Belgian has five goals in Chelsea's last four league games at Stamford Bridge. Pedro is likely to be the man to miss out (he is also nursing a knock), while Álvaro Morata will be hoping to build on a lively display at Turf Moor.
Palace lack goal threat
The season is still young, but Crystal Palace will be relieved that so many other sides are performing so badly. The Eagles have not been impressive since the start of October, the midweek League Cup loss to Middlesbrough their fifth game without a win in all competitions, yet still find themselves up in 14th at the start of the weekend thanks to the travails of Southampton, Newcastle, Huddersfield et al.
Goalscoring continues to be Palace's biggest weakness: they've already drawn six blanks this campaign (all competitions) and two of their seven league goals have been penalties. Much was made of Christian Benteke's iffy form last term, but Jordan Ayew hasn't been much of an improvement, and Roy Hodgson must be wondering why none of his midfielders are chipping in in open play; Andros Townsend and James McArthur in particular are well capable of contributing, but are leaving Wilfried Zaha to do too much.
Chelsea understandable favourites
Given the disparity in form between the sides, it's no shock that Chelsea are firm 1.282/7 favourites here. The Blues may have lost two of the last three league meetings between the sides, but they are a different proposition under Sarri and it would take a brave punter to oppose them here.
That said, there's a decent chance Palace can make life tough for their hosts, at least in the early stages. The Eagles tend to keep things tight away from home, in the hope of snatching a late winner; all of their away games have gone under the 1.5-goal line at half-time.
The same is true of seven of Chelsea's 10 matches, indicating that they too tend to do much of their best work when teams tire late on. Using the new Same Game Multi tool on the Sportsbook, we can back a Chelsea win and under 1.5 first-half goals at odds of 2.1411/10.