Chelsea meet Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge in a cross-London derby on the opening weekend of 2021-22 Premier League season.
Having won Champions League and UEFA Super Cup titles since scraping fourth on the final day of last season, Chelsea will be looking to kick-start a title challenge this season.
Hakim Ziyech is a doubt for Chelsea after suffering a shoulder injury during Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup victory over Villarreal.
Romelu Lukaku could make his first appearance here since re-joining Chelsea in a £97.5m deal earlier this week, although his inclusion could depend on how fit he is after spending pre-season with Inter Milan.
Palace could be without Michael Olise as he struggles to shake off a back injury.
Nathan Ferguson and Eberechi Eze both remain absent with Achilles injuries.
- Chelsea have won each of their last seven meetings against Crystal Palace (W7), despite keeping just three clean sheets across those seven matches.
- Palace have won two of their last six trips to Stamford Bridge (W2, L4).
- Kurt Zouma scored once for Chelsea in both league meetings against Palace last season.
- Chelsea have won three of their last five opening weekend fixtures in a new season (W3, L2).
- Palace are unbeaten in three of their last five opening weekend fixtures in a new season (W2, D1, L2).
Having enjoyed two cup successes since the conclusion of last season, Chelsea will be coming into this match high on confidence although their firepower hasn’t exactly consistently fired on all cylinders under Tuchel of two or more goals per match except for a four-match run between late March – mid April.
Palace meanwhile are beginning a new era under Vieira and their transfer business seems to suggest an investment in their future rather than immediate present, so it will be interesting to see how they fare here against difficult opposition.
On that note, I am going for a home win because Chelsea should have enough in them to claim a routine victory, although there will be some squad rotation after Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup match went the distance to penalties.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace
Result: Chelsea 3-0 Crystal Palace