Struggling London sides Chelsea and Crystal Palace are due to face off at Stamford Bridge on Saturday in a pivotal clash that could define their seasons.
Both sides have endured a torrid time as of late and are both need of all three points as the Blues are keen on returning to the top four and their Selhurst Park counterparts are just as desperate to avoid dropping to the Championship.
In light of all of this, here are four key battles that could decide their fates.
4. Andros Townsend vs Antonio Rudiger
While the English winger isn’t as consistent as his manager might like, he can be a real handful on a good day. Marcos Alonso will share the responsibility of keeping him quiet, but German centre-back Antonio Rudiger could have his work cut out for him as well and it will be interesting to see who turns up.
3. Willian vs Patrick van Aanholt
Willian has been the dangerman for the Blues of late, having regained Antonio Conte’s trust. The Brazilian’s marauding bursts forward make him quite hard to contain, as well as his ability to go from standing still to darting away in any direction he chooses pretty quickly.
Patrick van Aanholt may just have his hands full with the Chelsea winger, who has scored four goals in his last four appearances.
2. Wilfried Zaha vs Cesar Azpilicueta
The Crystal Palace attacker got the better of Cesar Azpilicueta earlier this season, scoring the winner for the Eagles after slipping in behind the Spaniard. And now set to return from an injury lay-off, he could cause Chelsea all sorts of problems.
Azpilicueta will definitely need to pay extra attention this time around.
1. N’Golo Kante vs Luka Milivojevic
N’Golo Kante is set to return to Antonio Conte’s starting lineup after missing Chelsea’s away fixture against Manchester City last weekend. He could have plenty to do, though, with an in-form Luka Milivojevic lurking.
The Serbian midfielder has scored four goals in his last eight appearances for the Eagles, and could also play a part on the defensive end, leaving the Blues with extra work to do in midfield.