Chelsea vs Crystal Palace
Chelsea were shocked at the Britannia last weekend despite a fine display from Andre Schurrle which saw him grab a brace. Mourinho’s men could not convert this into points though after a last-minute screamer from the Potters saw the Blues return to London empty-handed.
Eden Hazard continues to flourish under Jose Mourinho, his manager apparently intent on building his side around young attacking talent like Hazard and Oscar. The young Belgian has clearly responded to this obvious show of faith given that he’s made more attacking contributions (assists, crosses, dribbles, shots on goal) that an other Blues player this term, with 87 to his name.
Andre Schurrle’s double was a just reward for a talented player who has struggled slightly to find some of his best form since arriving in England. The German has so far only managed a 37.5% shot accuracy rate from 16 attempts on goal but with the confidence of his two well taken goals at the weekend it’s very likely this will vastly improve in the coming weeks.
Oscar continues to respond well to Jose Mourinho’s desire to see more all-round efforts from his players. The talented playmaker has been excelling in the defensive side of work, winning a hugely impressive 78.6% of his 42 attempted challenges this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Midfield colleague Ramires continues to lead the way for overall passing contributions for the Blues this term. Last weekend he became the first player in the Chelsea squad to surpass the 400-barrier for passes completed in the opponent’s half, with his total now sitting at 406. This mean’s he’s completed one on average once every 3.33 minutes he’s been the pitch this season.
Tony Pulis continued his impressive start at the helm of Crystal Palace as the Eagles secured a 2-0 win over Cardiff thanks to goals from Cameron Jerome and Marouane Chamakh.
Newly promoted sides are always tested defensively when they join a division as tough as the Premier League and Palace’s fortunes have been no different. Damien Delaney has certainly stepped up to the plate though and he currently sits joint third in the league for total defensive contributions (blocks, tackles won, interceptions, clearances) with 195.
Mile Jedinak continues to display the kind of form which will make Eagles fans glad he’s just committed his future with a new deal. Their Aussie skipper ranks joint third on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for total tackles won, with a stellar 56 to his name.
Jedinak’s smooth reading of them game also sees him rank top of the league for interceptions this season, racking up 53 this term. He will need all this defensive ability and more when his Palace side come up against a highly technical Chelsea outfit this weekend.
Pulis will be hoping he can extract more from some of his more attacking-minded players as well as helping with their defensive structure as they push their way out the bottom three. It’s currently a tie between Jason Puncheon and Dwight Gayle for the most attempts on goal in the Palace squad, with each having 13 to their name as well as identical accuracy rates of 30.8%.