Kick-off: 1500, 14/08/2021
Stadium: Stamford Bridge
Patrick Vieira is back in the Premier League but could not have asked for a much tougher start as Crystal Palace manager.
An opening-day trip to the European champions at least gives the Frenchman a relatively free hit, with the odds suggesting an easy win for Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Unfortunately for Vieira, we can’t see any other result either and the home team to be leading at both half-time and full-time at 5/6 is our opening Chelsea vs Crystal Palace prediction.
A Look At Chelsea’s Betting Odds
Tuchel transformed Chelsea’s fortunes last season when he took over from Frank Lampard and the season ended with Champions League glory after beating Manchester City in Porto.
Only time will tell if Chelsea can produce the consistency needed to challenge City for the domestic title and Pep Guardiola’s men are the clear favourites in the Premier League winner odds.
The Blues’ near-£100million pursuit of former Stamford Bridge forward Romelu Lukaku shows there is no chance of them resting on their laurels, though.
Chelsea will be keen to show they mean business on the opening weekend, especially with a tough start to the season coming up.
The visit of Palace is followed by trips to Arsenal and Liverpool while they also face Tottenham and Manchester City before the end of September.
The Blues will want to hit the ground running and should get the chance given that no team conceded more goals in the first 15 minutes of Premier League matches last season than Palace.
Let’s go for Tuchel’s men to be in front after 15 minutes at 13/5 in the Chelsea vs Crystal Palace odds.
Chelsea’s record signing Lukaku will not be involved, playmaker Hakim Ziyech (shoulder) is sidelined and midfielder N’Golo Kante is a doubt.
A Look At Crystal Palace’s Betting Odds
Palace rarely looked in danger of relegation during Roy Hodgson’s four years in charge but there is less certainty over their prospects as a new era begins.
This looks a big step up for Vieira, who was sacked by French side Nice in December and has surely got the job, at least in part, due to the success he had as a player at Arsenal.
The World Cup winner will know just how demanding the English top flight can be and the Premier League relegation odds suggest they will be in a scrap for survival.
Vieira may need time to get his ideas across and several experienced players have departed after their contracts expired so there are plenty of reasons to be concerned.
Gary Cahill, Nathaniel Clyne, Scott Dann, James McCarthy, Connor Wickham, Wayne Hennessey, Mamadou Sakho, Patrick Van Aanholt and Andros Townsend all moved on.
England Under-21s defender Marc Guehi arrives from Chelsea on a five-year deal after impressing on loan with Swansea last term.
Guehi told Palace TV: “The club is taking a really exciting direction with the new gaffer that’s come in, plus a lot of good young players are here.”
Denmark defender Joachim Andersen joins from Lyon following a stint at Fulham and former Reading youngster Michael Olise is an interesting recruit going forward.
But Palace were hit for four in both meetings with Chelsea last season and have lost the last seven encounters so Vieira cannot do any worse at least.
Let’s take a chance on a repeat of last year’s 4-0 home win in this fixture at 11/1 as our final Chelsea vs Crystal Palace prediction.
Palace are without summer loan signing Conor Gallagher (ineligible) and captain Luka Milivojevic (personal reasons). Winger Ebere Eze and defender Nathan Ferguson (both Achilles) are long-term absentees and midfielder Michael Olise (back) is out.
CHELSEA 1-1 Villarreal (AET, 6-5 on pens) – Hakim Ziyech
Liverpool 2-0 CRYSTAL PALACE
Head-to-head: Crystal Palace 1-4 Chelsea, Chelsea 4-0 Crystal Palace, Crystal Palace 2-3 Chelsea, Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace, Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea, Chelsea 3-1 Crystal Palace
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