Chelsea vs Crystal Palace: EPL preview, news, stats, prediction, kick-off time.

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Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Chelsea vs Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Team news

Chelsea‘s record signing Romelu Lukaku will not be involved in his side’s Premier League opener at home to Crystal Palace.

Striker Lukaku joined the Blues for a reported £97.5m on Thursday, but the transfer from Inter Milan was not concluded in time for him to feature on Saturday afternoon.

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Hakim Ziyech is sidelined due to the shoulder injury he sustained in the midweek UEFA Super Cup success against Villarreal, while N’Golo Kante has “some issues” following that match and is a doubt.

New Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira is without summer loan signing Conor Gallagher for the trip to Stamford Bridge.

The midfielder joined the Eagles from Chelsea and is ineligible to face his parent club, while captain Luka Milivojevic will be absent due to personal reasons.

Ebere Eze and Nathan Ferguson are long-term absentees after both ruptured their Achilles in May. Michael Olise, who joined from Reading in July, is out with a back injury but due to return to training this month, and the Eagles are set to give debuts to defenders Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen on Saturday.

How to follow

Follow Chelsea vs Crystal Palace in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel at 5.15pm.

Opta stats

Jones Knows’ Prediction

An odds-on favourite taking on a lowly-ranked team rolling the dice with a new management appointment – these aren’t the types of matches that get my punting juices flowing. I will be watching on closely though to see how Crystal Palace go about their business under Patrick Vieira, who never lost as a player against Chelsea in 10 meetings in the Premier League. He’ll need to get them expertly organised against the European champions. Thomas Tuchel’s boys will be in stranglehold mode with the ball for this one and play with their usual control once in front.

Like last season, this has led me to think a low-scoring Chelsea win is the smartest type of play in such a fixture, with Sky Bet offering 10/11 for Chelsea to win and under 3.5 goals in the match – a bet that would have landed in Chelsea home games against similarly-ranked opposition like Everton, Burnley, Newcastle and Fulham last season.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-0

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