Jose Mourinho must be wary of Crystal Palace challenge

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At 3.00pm this Saturday, Jose Mourinho's Chelsea take the short trip south from Fulham to Crystal Palace, to face Palace at Selhurst Park.

In this fixture last term, a John Terry own goal sank Chelsea, but this time around the Blues will be out for revenge. Having brought in a couple of world class players, Mourinho's men will be looking to turn Palace over and continue their brilliant start. Of course it won't be that easy.

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Pulis-less Palace

Along with Chelsea, Merseyside clubs Liverpool and Everton also dropped points against - what was then - Tony Pulis's Crystal Palace. Departing as the season's curtain-raiser approached, Pulis left Palace manager-less heading into the new campaign.

Yet, despite failing to win any of their opening four fixtures, Palace have now won two out of their last three games. The reintroduction of Neil Warnock to the club seems to have reignited the club's trademark tenacity.

The weekend's clash

In terms of personnel, Palace are waiting on the fitness of Adrian Mariappa, who is recovering from a slight knock. Aside from Mariappa there are no real injury concerns for Palace, which means the Warnock will have the overwhelming majority of his squad available to be thrust into the action against Chelsea on Saturday.

Chelsea, on the other hand, have begun the new term in outstanding fashion. Claiming resounding wins in all but one of their games - away to Manchester City being the exception - Mourinho's men have kept up an unbeaten record thus far and have announced themselves as serious title competitors.

Fellow summer acquisitions Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas have provided the spark, the former with nine goals in seven games and the latter with seven assists in as many fixtures.

Chelsea news

Chelsea are sweating on the fitness of Belgian ace Eden Hazard, who picked up a toe injury whilst on international duty. However, fellow Belgian Thibaut Courtois should be available for selection following a concussion picked up against Arsenal. Ramires and Didier Drogba both remain on the sidelines with respective groin and ankle problems.

Going into Saturday's London derby, Chelsea will be in high spirits, following a remarkably dominant opening to the season, but so will Palace, having only lost to the in-form Hull in their previous three fixtures.

The west Londoners will almost certainly have the majority of possession and will boss the game, but their south London counterparts are no strangers to having to sit tight and defend.

Although Chelsea go into the game as deserved favourites, Palace's ability to shut out major sides and stay determinedly in the games, means that they cannot be written off. Palace pose a threat to Mourinho's unbeaten record.

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Crystal Palace
Jose Mourinho
Premier League

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