Chelsea will go in search of the three points required to wrap up the Premier League title when welcoming Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Jose Mourinho’s side came from behind to beat Leicester City 3-1 on Wednesday, meaning they can now guarantee their first championship in five years with a win over Palace, even if they won’t get their hands on the trophy itself until their final home game of the season. Mourinho is unsurprisingly keen to have the title decided in front of the clubs own fans, although he won’t be panicking if the wait was to go on.
“We need two or three points to be champions,” he said in his pre-match press conference. “Let's say three, to make sure we don't depend on goal difference. We need a victory or we need three points with three draws. Obviously, we want to finish as soon as possible.
“If we can do it at home, better. We have two matches at home, If we can do it on Sunday, even better. That's what we have in our mind but similar to arsenal, similar to Leicester we got to win but at this moment any point that we get is a positive point so we are clam.”
Chelsea’s comfortable position in the table means that striker Diego Costa once again won’t be risked after suffering a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury that has troubled him throughout the season. And, according to Mourinho, if Chelsea were to clinch the title on Sunday, the Spain striker would likely not be seen again this season.
“If we win on Sunday, I would say he doesn’t play against Liverpool,” he said, according to Chelsea’s official website. “If we don’t win on Sunday, I would say he plays against Liverpool. At the moment we are going result after result, and if we don’t need, probably he doesn’t play again. I wouldn’t say he needs a long break; he needs a good period of work. We are preparing a good working situation for him during the holiday period where he can mix holiday with work with our people.”
There is better news, though, with fellow striker Loic Remy ready to return after his month-long injury absence. Chelsea’s opponents have already accomplished their main objective for the season, with Alan Pardew’s appointment as manager triggering a stunning run that saw them ease clear of any relegation trouble. Their momentum has been stalled by back-to-back defeats in the last two weeks, but Pardew has been working his players hard in the aim of spoiling Chelsea’s party on Sunday.
“Jose always sets the team up with the strengths he has in the squad. He maximizes individuals [abilities],” he said, reports Sky Sports. “Our solution this week has been to work hard. Work on our fitness levels, our technical skills and our team shape. On Tuesday we stopped doing ball work and did some running. I think they enjoyed that!
“They will dominate possession and the two thirds of the pitch that we have to defend, but we carry a threat. We've got to try and produce a performance that doesn't get carried away in the emotion of the day.”
Kickoff time: 8:30 a.m. EDT
TV channel: NBCSN
Live stream: NBC Sports Live Extra