Since losing to Arsenal 3-0 back in October, Chelsea have gone from title flops to favourites – but with the gap currently six points, this is a weekend in which the gap could well become even greater.
That’s because the fixture list has smiled kindly upon Antonio Conte’s side as Christmas approaches. Could it all be over as Boxing Day rolls around?
That might sound a little hard on Palace, but consider this: Alan Pardew’s side have managed just one win 10 games, while Chelsea have won all 10 of their previous league fixtures.
On that run, Conte’s men have scored 24 goals and recorded eight clean sheets. They’ve demonstrated that they can grind out a 1-0 win in their most recent games against West Brom and Sunderland, so it looks likely to be a case of whether they run away with the game, or grind out the three points.
Arsenal’s unbeaten run came to a calamitous end at Goodison Park on Tuesday, with Ashley Williams’ barnstorming header exposing the many frailties of a Shkodran Mustafi-less defence.
And City don’t look too clever either right now, sitting in fourth after a heavy defeat at Leicester not long ago. If Chelsea manage a win at Palace in Saturday’s early kick off, they’ll be watching this clash with wide eyes.
Jurgen Klopp’s men sit six points adrift of Chelsea, and any dropped points would guarantee that the gap extends. The Reds’ form has been patchy, drawing two, winning two and losing one of their last five games, so an unfavourable result is not out of the question.
Having sat and watched one of Arsenal, Manchester City or possibly both drop points on Sunday, any difficulties for Liverpool on a chilly Monday night game would be a Christmas bonus for Chelsea.
Six points clear: Liverpool or Arsenal win.
Seven points clear: Liverpool draw or lose and Manchester City win.
Eight points clear:
Eight points clear:Liverpool draw or lose and Manchester City draw against Arsenal.
What chance then that the Blues are three results clear by Christmas Day?