Chelsea v Crystal Palace Match Preview: Could Wilfried Zaha Return For Eagles?

We won't rush Zaha back insists Crystal Palace's Roy Hodgson

Antonio Conte has cut a disgruntled figure throughout the campaign and it would be something of a surprise if the Italian remained in charge at Stamford Bridge next season.

The Blues will kick off with the aim of putting a turbulent few days behind them that have put Conte's future under the microscope once more. The current champions are already five points behind the top-four. They have fantastic players, are a brilliantly run and powerful club, and have a very good manager and coaching staff.

Up next for Chelsea and Conte is Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie. Rudiger has been a bit rash with his tackles at times and is always a challenge away from getting booked.

Antonio Conte at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, March 4.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson on Chelsea's recent poor form explained:"Normally when you come against a team not having the best of times, that can be a very risky time to play them". In each of the last three games against Barcelona, Man United and Man City, he has seen an error result in a goal despite his general performances in all of them being of an excellent standard. A win on Saturday will not be an instant panacea for Chelsea's wretched 2018 to date but it will be a start.

Centre-back Mamadou Sakho is expected to join Zaha in training tomorrow, but it appears that his return from a calf strain is not imminent.

Wilfried Zaha is set for a return to the team after missing time with a knee injury.

However, Palace boss, Roy Hodgson said on Thursday that Zaha has made a "remarkable" recovery and could be on the substitutes' bench at Stamford Bridge. We'll see how he feels tomorrow, which will also be a light session. The initial prognosis was end of season, rather than six weeks.

Chelsea have endured back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Manchester clubs, both being narrow losses, but body blows in their pursuit of a top-four finish, as they find themselves five points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham. Olivier played against West Brom from the start, he played against Hull and he came on in other games, but he's ready.

Despite the numbers supporting Willian's inclusion in the team, Conte insists his defensive work is equally important.

Title defences for Chelsea have proved turbulent seasons in the recent history and this year has been no different.

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