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Predicted Chelsea XI vs. Crystal Palace: Hiddink wants first win; Pardew plotting for double

Guus Hiddink will be eyeing his first win as Chelsea boss when he takes the Blues to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

While the Blues won their first match since the dismissal of Jose Mourinho—a 3-1 triumph over Sunderland at Stamford Bridge—Hiddink has overseen two draws in his first two matches back in the hotseat.

While the Dutch coach will be desperate for a victory, he will know that an away trip against Palace represents one of the Premier League’s tougher fixtures considering the Eagles’ superb form under Alan Pardew.

Indeed, Chelsea will surely be jealous of Palace’s league position and current standing so far this season.

While the Pensioners remain down in 16th, having amassed only 20 points from 19 games, Palace are up in seventh on 31. While the Blues are only three points above the relegation zone, Pardew’s boys are only four behind Tottenham Hotspur and the fourth Champions League spot.

Having beaten Chelsea earlier in the season, Pardew will be hoping for the double against Palace’s London rivals, while Guus will simply be keen to get a first win under the belt.

Chelsea are definitely without Falcao, whose absence will offer little relief to Palace, while Gary Cahill is a doubt with an ankle injury.

Without the England man, expect Kurt Zouma to partner John Terry in the heart of the defence in front of Thibaut Courtois. First-choice full-backs Cesar Azpilicueta and Branislav Ivanovic will start on the flanks.

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Hiddink has opted to start John Obi Mikel ahead of Cesc Fabregas, and expect that trend to continue on Sunday, with the Nigerian given the nod alongside Nemanja Matic.

Loic Remy is a doubt with a calf injury, meaning that Diego Costa will be the undisputed starting forward.

Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian are all short of match fitness, but all three will likely start, unless the Dutch coach plumps for Pedro instead of one of the three.

 

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