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Crystal Palace vs Chelsea preview: Costa returns as Hiddink searches for first win

Chelsea travel to Selhurst Park on Sunday looking to avoid a third consecutive league draw and hand Guus Hiddink a first win since taking charge.

The Dutchman has overseen back-to-back draws since replacing Jose Mourinho on an interim basis, with Watford and Manchester United denying him the chance of capturing his first three points in his second spell at the club.

However, it isn’t likely to get much easier for him this weekend against Palace, with the Eagles currently sitting in fifth place in the table and within four points of the top four.

Alan Pardew’s side are arguably better set up to play away from home with four of their six losses this year coming at Selhurst Park, coupled with the personnel at his disposal who are better suited to taking advantage of teams on the break.

Nevertheless, they will be confident of putting that behind them against a Chelsea side that still hasn’t fully recovered from the disastrous start to the season made under Mourinho, as they continue to languish in the bottom half of the table.

The Premier League champions remain in 14th place with 20 points from 19 games, and they are still just three points above the relegation zone.

As a result, the pressure will undoubtedly start to build on Hiddink sooner rather than later if he isn’t able to string some wins together and get them moving in the right direction.

Diego Costa will be expected to return to the lineup having missed out against United due to suspension, which in turn will likely see Eden Hazard return to a wide position or in the hole behind the Spaniard. It is unlikely that Hiddink will make too many other changes as he looks to gain some consistency in order to obtain better results and start moving the Blues in the right direction.

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