Chelsea vs Crystal Palace | Saturday 3rd October 2020, 19:00 | BT Sport
It’s a brand new month in the Premier League and matchweek four sees Crystal Palace travel to Stamford Bridge in an all-London affair against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
Chelsea come into this match on the back of a 3-3 draw against one of relegation favourites West Brom, a result few people would have predicted beforehand. A 3-0 half-time lead for the Baggies was even more extraordinary with the Blues once again showing how not to defend while playing on the road.
Given the exceptional circumstances during this game, I’m sure Lampard would have been relatively delighted to have taken home a point, whilst simultaneously scratching his head as to how they got themselves in such a disastrous situation in the first place.
Although we’re only three games in, Chelsea are yet to keep a clean sheet – conceding six goals in those three matches. This means the Blues have a clean sheet rate of just 21% since the start of last season.
I mentioned in my season preview that Chelsea conceded the most goals last term of any top four side since Norwich back in 1992/93 and if they carry on shipping goals to the likes of West Brom, they’ll be on track to replicate something similar.
Going forward, the West Londoners have looked pretty standard thus far. in my opinion, creating just two Big Chances. Although Timo Werner bagged his first goal recently in the Carabao Cup against Tottenham which should be a good confidence booster for the German.
Havertz to make his mark
From one German to the other, Kai Havertz has hardly had a sniff in front of goal, averaging just 0.7 shots. I was surprised to discover that Havertz has made more tackles (1.7) than shots per-game (0.7). An unusual statistic for a top player operating in his position (albeit a small sample size).
The German prospect made two and three tackles against West Brom and Brighton respectively. If we include all competitions, he even made five tackles against Barnsley! Based on these stats, it seems to me that the former Leverkusen star is trying hard to make a first impression and adapt to the physicality’s in the Premier League.
If these statistics are anything to go by, I expect Havertz to put in another defensive shift up against Crystal Palace who like to run at defenders on the ball – Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend and Ebere Eze all spring to mind here.
The Eagles were also top of the ranks for being tackled by opposition last season, so Havertz to make 2+ tackles at 12/5 looks like good value to me at Ladbrokes.
Palace have started brightly to the new season with six points in their first three games, including victories against Man Utd and Southampton. Tipped for relegation by many, (myself included), it was a surprise to see the start they had against tough opposition.
Zaha has found his shooting boots with three goals so far and is already one goal away from equalling his goal scoring record last season! I expect Palace to cause some problems on the counter, especially given Chelsea’s abysmal clean sheet record from the start of last season.
I fancy Both Teams To Score, however I prefer the look of Over 1.5 Goals coupled up with Havertz 1+ tackle also on ladbrokes at 5/6.