Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew: Chelsea can be better than last year
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew believes Premier League champions Chelsea could be a better team than last season despite their poor start.
Chelsea have four points from their opening three games and play Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday in Jose Mourinho's 100th Premier League home game and 200th league match as boss.
Pardew said: "They have a side that looks to me like it could be better than the one last year and that one won them the league.
"They have some new players. They're integrating those.
"It would be fair to say Chelsea are not quite in the groove (they were in) when we played them last time."
Chelsea clinched the title on May 3 with a 1-0 defeat of Palace at Stamford Bridge.
History is also against Palace. It is 33 years since the Eagles won at Stamford Bridge.
"We performed last year almost to our maximum and still got beat. It's one of those places," Pardew added.
"You have to go there and play your best game and hope that you get a result."
Palace face a challenging run against the Blues, Manchester City and Tottenham either side of the international break, with Pardew keen to build on his side's strong start to the season.
The Eagles boss said: "We've won three out of four (including in the Capital One Cup against Shrewsbury) and that's pretty good.
"The fourth game (against Arsenal) we lost (but) we could've got something out of, if the ref, in my opinion, had made the right decision.
"We're in good shape and we're looking forward to Chelsea. It's always a great place to play, great atmosphere.
"Our fans will add to that. It'll be a great occasion."
Yannick Bolasie is available after missing the midweek cup clash with The Shrews following the death of his father.
Wilfried Zaha could drop out for Bolasie, while midfielder Mile Jedinak is out for two to three weeks after suffering a hamstring injury against Shrewsbury which forced him out of Australia's forthcoming internationals.
Goalkeeper Julian Speroni (finger) and strikers Marouane Chamakh and Fraizer Campbell (both hamstring) are likely to be absent again.
Pardew says his squad is focused on the match, rather than the closure of the transfer window and the accompanied speculation.
"We don't envisage making too many calls ourselves and that's probably where we are," Pardew added.
"I don't know about players going out. All the players I have here at the moment are focused on what is going to be a difficult game on Saturday."