Graham Potter will want to get off to a winning start as he takes charge of his first Premier League game for Chelsea against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Potter, who managed Brighton for three seasons, replaced Thomas Tuchel earlier this month and oversaw the Blues’ 1-1 draw with RB Salzburg in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge before the international break.
The Englishman’s first league assignment as Chelsea boss is a tricky trip to Crystal Palace, who last played against Newcastle United on September 3. Winless in their last three games, the Eagles will look to pose a stiff test to the Blues and get a much-needed win.
1. Joachim Andersen vs Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Joachim Andersen has developed into Crystal Palace’s most important defender under PatrickVieira. The ‘hulky’ Dane has been a mainstay in the backline that has conceded nine goals in six games this season.
On Saturday, Andersen will have his hands full against Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Aubameyang’s start to life at Chelsea may not have gone as per plan but there are no doubts about his quality in front of goal.
It is just a matter of time before the goals start coming for the Gabonese, but Andersen will be prepared to delay it for another day.
2. Cheick Doucoure vs Mateo Kovacic
Cheick Doucoure has wasted no time in becoming a crucial cog in Crystal Palace’s engine room. He will most likely line up as the deepest midfielder in the 4-3-3 system that Vieira will employ.
Holding the midfield for Palace, Doucoure will have to deal with Mateo Kovacic. Tenacious and energetic, Kovacic possesses the ability to dribble out of tight spaces and play defence-splitting passes from the centre of the pitch.
Wilfried Zaha has been the standout player for Crystal Palace this season, and he will look to maintain that against Chelsea. The Ivorian’s pace combined with dribbling skills and movement could cause problems for the Blues’ backline.
When fully fit and firing, Zaha can be one of the most devastating forwards to face in the Premier League. He will likely line up against Reece James. James is an attacking full-back with a penchant for bombing down the flank and linking with the attackers in the final third.
However, when facing a tricky player in Zaha, the Chelsea starlet may need to curb his attacking instincts and hold his position well. This battle will be a hugely enticing one to watch.