Patrick Vieira names two areas Crystal Palace must improve to beat Chelsea this weekend

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Crystal Palace will hope to be better when they host the Blues this weekend at Stamford Bridge.

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira says it will be one of the best games in his managerial career if his side can beat European and World Champions Chelsea.

The Blues will make the short trip to Selhurst in search of three points that will tighten their grip on third place and heighten the pressure on second place Liverpool who take on Norwich this weekend.

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South London side Crystal Palace were given a baptism of fire when they last met Chelsea on the opening day of the season.

Goals from Marcos Alonso, Christian Pulisic  and Trevoh Chalobah gave Vieira a rude awakening on his first Premier League game as Palace manager.

At that time there were fears that Vieira could be sacked given how poor his side were on that bright summer day, but Palace have since improved and are sitting 13th on the league table above teams like Newcastle, Leeds and Brentford.

Saturday’s game is another opportunity to measure their progress against a world class team who have just won the Club World Cup and Vieira says they will need to improve their defending from set-pieces and keep their focus throughout the game.

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Patrick Vieira, Manager of Crystal Palace looks on during the Premier League match  (Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images)Patrick Vieira, Manager of Crystal Palace looks on during the Premier League match  (Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images)
Patrick Vieira, Manager of Crystal Palace looks on during the Premier League match (Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images)

The former Arsenal man told the press ahead of the game: “ I think that the team and myself have all grown from that first game.

“I think that we all have a better understanding of what I want and the parts that we have to improve in parts of our game.

“That day against Chelsea, it was the first goal that changed the momentum of the game and it came at a critical moment.

“I think what we have to learn as a team is that those periods are massively important for us.

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“It’s about when are in a good period how we can take advantage and score those goals and when we are in a difficult period of the game how can we defend well together.

“I think these two things and with the maturity of all the games so far we have managed those kinds of situations very well.

“So for me the game tomorrow we will be in a much better situation than we were back in August, but we are playing against the World Champions and the team who won the Champions League so it’s going to be a massive challenge for us.

“But again it’s really very exciting and we are looking forward to it and we will give ourselves the best chance to get the results we want.”

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Palace have been boosted with the return of Cheikhou Kouyaté who has missed the last four league games due to  being involved in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Experienced midfielder James McArthur will also be available after coming through another intensive training week without too much stress.

Palace will be without energetic young midfielder Conor Gallagher due to the terms of the loan agreement between Chelsea and Crystal Palace.

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