Patrick Vieira’s side have been out of Premier League action for nearly a month, with the Queen’s death and the international break making the 0-0 draw with Newcastle United seem like a lifetime ago.
The Eagles have started the season in decent fashion, given that they have already faced the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal, and their fixtures do not get any easier with the visit of Chelsea this weekend.
Graham Potter is taking charge of his first Premier League game as Chelsea’s new manager but he looks set to be without two key players for the game, as he revealed in Friday’s pre-match press conference.
“N’Golo is doing fine in terms of coming through the rehab stages. He has been on the grass with the team but he’s not in full training.
“We have a bit of illness with Marc Cucurella and also Carney Chukwuemeka. Apart from that everyone is fit.”
It is undoubtedly a big boost to Palace’s chances that both Kante and Cucurella will be missing on Saturday, and Vieira will be hoping to take advantage.
Kante is undoubtedly one of the top players in Chelsea’s squad, having been integral to title wins with both Leicester City and Chelsea in his Premier League career.
The “world-class” midfielder averaged a 7.01 rating from WhoScored for his performances last season, which ranked him as the seventh-best player (of those to make at least 10 appearances) in the squad, which emphasises how important he is at Stamford Bridge.
Cucurella meanwhile, would win player of the season at Brighton and will undoubtedly excel now that he has been reunited with Potter at Chelsea, but his absence will force Potter to re-think his defensive lineup from the draw against RB Salzburg in his first game at the club.
This can only be good for Vieira and Palace, and the Frenchman will be hoping that his side can exploit any weaknesses in Chelsea’s midfield and defence due to the absence of Kante and Cucurella on Saturday.