Paul Merson states his prediction for Crystal Palace v Chelsea

Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace Premier League

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Injury issues to key players like Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke have not helped the situation at Palace and, while Hodgson must muddle through until January, he will no doubt recognise that he must bolster his ranks in the New Year window in order to help stave off relegation to the Championship.

Their weekend clash with the Premier League champions will be even more hard to overcome, with the Eagles finding it hard to find the back of the net.

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The Eagles have conceded 11 times in the last two games against Manchester City and Manchester United to leave the London side without a point in seven fixtures. It is not going to get an easier for the Eagles as Chelsea come to visit Selhurst Park this weekend.

Title holders Chelsea are seven points behind current leaders Manchester City and Manchester United following their setback in west London before the worldwide break.

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The Eagles will also go into the weekend's clash hoping to replicate the feat they pulled off the last time the teams met, when the Selhurst Park outfit beat Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge back in April.

Former Arsenal midfielder Merson is backing Chelsea to ease to a narrow win against Palace despite some big-name absentees.

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Physio Room do not believe it's likely that either of Alvaro Morata or N'Golo Kante will be available for Saturday's game. "They are two massive players and not having them will make a difference", Merson told Sky Sports. They understood each other better. "Man City were on fire against Chelsea and still only scored once, and that was a "worldie", so that is what Palace are up against".

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