Premier League Preview: Chelsea v Crystal Palace
By Football News
Chelsea will be looking to bring resurgent London rivals Crystal Palace back down to earth in Saturday’s London derby at Stamford Bridge.
Tony Pulis has galvanised Palace by masterminding victories over West Ham and Cardiff City to raise hopes that they can avoid relegation.
Chelsea beat Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday night to seal top spot in UEFA Champions League Group E and now turn their attention to the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho's side suffered a surprise 3-2 defeat at Stoke City last weekend, missing an opportunity to move into second place and cut the gap to leaders Arsenal to only two points.
The former Real Madrid boss said it was mission accomplished in Europe after the victory over Steaua and reiterated that his main objective in the Premier League is to secure a Champions League spot.
He said: "The only target was to not win the Europa League again and that target is done,
"Now we have to do the best we can in the Champions League. In the Premier League I think the first target is to ensure we finish in the top four."
Chelsea have dropped only two points at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League this term and will be confident of securing their seventh home win when they face Palace.
The two sides have not played each other since March 2005, when Frank Lampard was among the goalscorers in a 4-1 victory for Chelsea.
Palace were hammered 6-2 in the previous London derby clash at Stamford Bridge five years earlier.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech will return to Chelsea's starting line-up after Mark Schwarzer was handed his Champions League debut in midweek.
Ramires, Andre Schurrle, Juan Mata, Gary Cahill and Fernando Torres will also be hoping for a recall, with midfielder Marco Van Ginkel (knee) Chelsea's only absentee.
Palace could find themselves out of the relegation zone by securing a point against the Europa League champions after their recent revival.
None of the teams in the bottom six have more than Palace's four wins, but they must improve their away record having lost six of seven games on their travels.
Left-back Dean Moxey will undergo a fitness test after sustaining a hamstring injury against Cardiff, but Jerome Thomas (groin), Jack Hunt (ankle), Adlene Guedioura (ribs) and Glenn Murray (knee) are all sidelined and Paddy McCarthy (groin) is not expected to make his long-awaited comeback.