Chelsea seek Palace coup

LONDON - Chelsea head to London rivals Crystal Palace today eager to maintain or even extend their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League table as domestic action resumes after the international break.

Palace surprised Chelsea, and the rest of the league, by winning last season's corresponding clash and Blues captain John Terry has dismissed talk that this season's title-race is already done and dusted.

"Clearly it (the title race) is not over," he said.

"Other teams have been in this position. It's nice to have the lead but when you're at the top everyone wants to shoot you down.

"That's the good thing about the Premier League and why everyone loves it. Teams are out to get us because we are at the top and playing well."

Defending champions Manchester City, currently second, are at home to Tottenham Hotspur and on-loan midfielder Frank Lampard has told his teammates to be wary of a revitalised Spurs.

"They may go through a slight transitional period but I was very impressed with their manager (Mauricio Pochettino) when he was at Southampton and if he can bring the same imprint on Tottenham, who arguably have more quality within their squad, they'll do really well. They are a good side."

Yet one of the success stories of the season so far has been the way in which south coast side Southampton, despite losing their manager and several key players to top-flight rivals, have nevertheless flourished under new manager Ronald Koeman to be third in the table ahead of their match at home to Sunderland on Saturday.

Such has been the impact the former Dutch international has made at St Mary's there have been calls for him to take charge of the Netherlands national side, who have lost two of their opening three Euro 2016 qualifiers after finishing third at this year's World Cup in Brazil.

But as far as Koeman is concerned, his country missed their chance to install him as manager when they opted for Guus Hiddink following Louis van Gaal's post-World Cup departure to Manchester United.

"I hope to stay here for my whole contract, but it's football," said Koeman, who signed a three-year deal with the Saints.

"There's certainly no chance to move now out of Southampton.

"I was interested in that job, because when I left Feyenoord I was nominated to be the national coach but the federation chose Hiddink."

Arsenal face Hull in a repeat of last season's thrilling FA Cup final where the Gunners came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and so claim their first major trophy in nine years. – Reuters


Man City v Tottenham (1:45pm), Arsenal v Hull (4pm), Burnley v West Ham (4pm), Crystal Palace v Chelsea (4pm), Everton v Aston Villa (4pm), Newcastle v Leicester (4pm), Southampton v Sunderland (4pm)      


QPR v Liverpool (2:30pm), Stoke v Swansea (5pm)          


West Brom v Man United (9pm)

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