Chelsea vs Crystal Palace: 3 Blues who must start in London derby

So far, the festive period for Chelsea Football Club has been defined by missed chances, and unforced errors. Tonight at Stamford Bridge provides an opportunity to rebound.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea FC - Premier League / David Rogers/GettyImages
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Levi Colwill
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea FC - Premier League / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

2. Conor Gallagher

No. 23 is the heart that keeps on beating in the middle of the pitch for Chelsea Football Club. Conor Gallagher's double digit recoveries and passes into the final third led all players on Sunday. In the midst of chaos, the academy graduate is a steady force of consistency. Over the last four games, the 23-year-old has averaged a passing completion percentage around 92 percent. He's a player that should be around to see this project turn into a success, not depart before its turning point has transpired.

Discounting that uncharacteristic red card, the ex-Palace loanee has been the model leader between the white lines. Even without the full-time captain and vice-captain for now, Gallagher is filling in that role quite well. Sure, you're going to get some poor fouls from behind, but he'll learn from that. His desire to win the ball is something this team must have from the opening whistle.

Last season when he went up against the side he used to suit up for, No. 23 delivered a dagger in the last few minutes to seal the points for the Blues. In a 1-0 win last January, the Epsom native was a standout performer alongside Jorginho in the midfield double pivot. That all seems like a decade ago at this point. His success against the Eagles since departing south London has been well documented. Hopefully, that trend remains valid when it is all said and done tonight.

1. Levi Colwill

Poch is asking a whole lot from Levi Colwill. The man is 20. It's time we officially acknowledge that fact. Whenever you play out of position, it isn't going to be perfect. As a natural center back, Colwill has been forced to move to left back due to the extensive amount of injuries in the first-team. Knowing that he is playing out position, No. 26 has been impressive, for the most part.

Of course, he is not going to provide the kind of attacking option of a Ben Chilwell or Marc Cucurella. That's obvious. In the tests that he was given last time out defensively, Colwill passed. With the lively Michael Olise more than likely being positioned on the right flank, the Englishman has a tall task ahead of him. Given the attention someone like him requires, an intelligent defensive-minded full back may do just the trick to stymie the danger.

Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace can be seen live in the United States on Peacock and on Amazon Prime in the United Kingdom.