LONDON (Reuters) - Premier League leaders Chelsea look “unbeatable”, Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew said on Friday ahead of this weekend’s game between the London rivals.
There is a stark contrast between the two teams’ form, with Chelsea having won 10 league games in succession to open up a six-point lead at the top while Palace have managed only one victory in their last 10 matches.
A group of Palace supporters calling themselves “Pardew Out Mob” plan to walk out in the 21st minute of Saturday’s game in protest at the team having lost 21 league matches during 2016.
“I wasn’t aware of that,” Pardew told a news conference.
“My view is that this team is fighting for the Palace shirt and I’ll make sure it fights to the last minute of every game.”
He agreed, however, that Chelsea under Antonio Conte, look a formidable side.
”Coming from Serie A, it’s a different type of football but Conte’s got to grips with the Premier League.
”He’s been helped by his players having history in the Premier League, but he’s done a fantastic job. They look unbeatable at the moment.
“Hazard and Costa are a different proposition to last year and they’ll admit that. Fabregas too,” he added.
“It’s a tough ask and no point denying it.”
Pardew’s team lost 2-1 at home to Manchester United in midweek when Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a late winning goal.
“We’ve got to go at it like we did against United and hope things fall our way,” the manager said.
”We have injuries unfortunately, 10 or 11 senior players, which have put a bit of a strain on our squad.
“But we intend to be as competitive as we can be.”
Midfielder Mathieu Flamini is the latest injury victim but Jason Puncheon will be available again after suspension.
Reporting by Steve Tongue, editing by Ed Osmond