Chelsea has been struck by an injury blow ahead of their Premier League meeting with Crystal Palace this weekend. Ashley Cole has been ruled out with a recurring knee injury, while Samuel Eto’o has failed to recover from the hamstring injury he sustained in only the 10th minute of last week’s 6-0 win over Arsenal.
Cole is unlikely to have started even if he had been granted a clean bill of health, given the recent form of Cesar Azpilicueta. The right footed Azpilicueta has often been used ahead of Cole this season, as Mourinho is evidently impressed by the Spaniards defensive work rate.
Eto’o’s absence is likely to be more seriously felt, having just come into a run of form, scoring in all of his last 3 games, the Chelsea manager will likely turn to Fernando Torres to lead the Blues’ attack. Chelsea will be hoping that the games rest will allow the Cameroonian striker to recover in time for their Champions League clash with PSG next week.
Even with the absences, Chelsea is unlikely to have any problems dispatching a struggling Crystal Palace. Currently sitting 17th in the table, Palace have been stabilised since the appointment of Tony Pulis. Nevertheless, they’ve only managed to claim 8 points from their last 8 games, and an upset is very unlikely.
The same could’ve been said before Chelsea’s match against Aston Villa a fortnight ago, and that fixture saw Mourinho’s men beaten and down to 9 men. As a result, there’s no doubt that the Portguese manager will be taking measures to safeguard against complacency, and ensure that his team comes away with the crucial 3 points. With Liverpool and Manchester City in flying form, failure to do so could spell doom for Chelsea’s chances of winning the Premier League this season.