Why Vieira’s Eagles will dare to dream


Wilfried Zaha to score anytime (inc. ET) & Crystal Palace to qualify @ 10/1
Crystal Palace to score at least one goal in both halves @ 13/2
Kai Havertz to have a headed shot on target @ 4/1
Crystal Palace to win in Extra Time or Penalties @ 10/1
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It’s been a rough few months for the Champions League holders. Their ownership is in disarray, Kepa’s Carabao Cup final penalty is still rising, and it was so close, yet so far this Tuesday in Madrid. Tuchel’s side will likely whimper to a top four finish, provided that Spurs or Arsenal fulfil their end of the bargain and fall away. If they’re looking to the FA Cup for silverware though, it’s not going to happen. Instead, Patrick Vieira’s side should provide that much-needed FA Cup underdog story we crave by making the final @ 11/4.

Crystal Palace earnt their place at what they hope to be the first of two Wembley trips by dismantling Everton 4-0 in the quarters (granted, beating Everton is more a rite of passage than an achievement these days). A 2-1 defeat to Leicester last weekend is unlikely to dull their spirits after a 7-game unbeaten run, whilst a goal for Wilfried Zaha moved the silky winger to 12 goals in all competitions – a career-high.

Mind games
Chelsea laughed off Palace’s optimistic plea for star Conor Gallagher to play against his parent club on Sunday, but Vieira has managed to skilfully spin the scenario to criticise Chelsea for hindering their own player’s development – top-class mind games. He’ll be a miss, although it has given Jean-Philippe Mateta a fantastic chance to step up.

Real Madrid eventually saw off Chelsea midweek, thanks to the outside of Luka Modric’s right foot and this match could come too soon for the heartbroken Blue. 120 gruelling minutes to come out with nothing would have been a blow physically and emotionally, and Palace will be itching to have a go at their vulnerable London neighbours.

Haver problem
Chelsea are another club who have bought into this new indie trend of having your right-back as the most dangerous player on the pitch. However, Reece James might find Zaha too much of a burden at the back today. This leaves the endlessly heading Havertz to manage the load, while Pulisic and Werner dance around and Lukaku reminisces about the Italian gelato.

For Chelsea it’s a desperate last chance to salvage their season. For Palace it’s a golden opportunity for their first major trophy. The momentum sits firmly with Patrick Vieira’s side, leaving them a great price to do the business this Sunday.

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