Crystal Palace vs Norwich City
Venue: Selhurst Park
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Norwich City will be looking to return to winning ways at Selhurst Park this week as they welcome Farke’s Canaries; who will make the trip to London to face Roy Hodgson’s men in a bid to make up for their loss against Burnley last time out.
Palace will be keen to pick up three points as well. A hammering against Spurs was followed up by a draw with strugglers Wolves, so this battle of differing tactical approaches is sure to engage the neutral. Sitting in mid-table after two wins, two draws and two losses, a victory against the newly-promoted side could see them rise up the table.
Crystal Palace only earned a point against a 10-man Wolves side through Leander Dendoncker’s own goal which was later cancelled out by a Diogo Jota’s effort at the death. Hodgson has backed his talisman, Ivorian international Wilfried Zaha, to be back to his best in coming weeks, saying: “We expect a lot more from Wilf in terms of assists and goals and I think that we are going to get it.”
Zaha has failed to pick up a goal this season and, with a persistently misfiring Benteke and injury to Connor Wickham, the side have only scored four times – the joint-worst with relegation strugglers Watford and Newcastle United. Jordan Ayew has found the net twice however and if the goalscoring abilities he demonstrated five years ago with Lorient can resurface, he will be vital for the Eagles this campaign.
Norwich City would undoubtedly find it hard to keep fans’ spirits as sky-high as they were after the Man City win. The Norfolk outfit succumbed to a 2-0 loss at the hands of Burnley in a tie where Dyche’s conservatism prevailed. Two early strikes from New Zealand striker Chris Wood killed the game in the first twenty minutes and Farke’s attack, which had excelled in previous weeks, found it difficult to break through a sturdy Clarets defence.
A single Jason Puncheon goal sunk Norwich City in Palace’s last clash with the Canaries in April 2016. The last Norwich victory against the Eagles came in November 2013 as a Gary Hooper strike gave Tony Pulis a defeat in his first game on the Palace touchline. The fixture has seen a few lacklustre encounters over the years, but, a 3-3 draw in 2005 and 5-1 Palace triumph will stick in the memories of both sets of supporters.
Crystal Palace are without a major injury crisis at current and Roy Hodgson’s Eagles will be hopeful that forward Connor Wickham will return after an unspecified knock ruled him out of the Wolves draw. The Englishman could be an outlet for a Palace side severely struggling for goals.
After his two goals in the early stages of this campaign, Ghana’s Jordan Ayew will surely spearhead the Eagles’ attack as Christian Benteke, still unable to regain the scoring prowess he displayed during his time at Villa, warms the bench. It seems likely that Roy Hodgson will be looking to secure a more regular starting line-up. Minutes have been dished out to the majority of the first-team squad and the veteran boss will be keen to instill some continuity. As mentioned before, Wilfried Zaha will continue in his search for his first goal of the campaign.
Summer recruit Sam Byram looks to be fielded again for Norwich City with Max Aarons (ankle) ruled out until at least October. Another new signing, German stopper Ralf Fährmann (groin), is likely to miss out but he has, so far, failed to oust Krul between the sticks anyway. The Dutchman himself, however, has back complaints but could still start. The worst-case scenario could see a rare appearance from Northern Ireland veteran keeper Michael McGovern.
Onel Hernández and Timm Klose (both knee) are still nursing long-term problems whilst Tom Trybull (ankle) and Mario Vrančić (calf) continue to face time of the sidelines.
Midfielder Alexander Tettey (muscle) left the field early against Burnley but could be in contention for this match. Christoph Zimmermann (foot) faces the longest stretch out with January 2020 his estimated return date.
Predicted Starting XIs
Crystal Palace (4-5-1): Guaita; Ward, Sakho, Cahill, van Aanholt; Zaha, Kouyaté, Milivojević, McArthur, Zaha; Ayew
Norwich City (4-2-3-1): Krul; Byram, Amadou, Godfrey, Lewis; Leitner, McLean; Buendía, Stiepermann, Cantwell; Pukki
Score Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Norwich City
Both sides have stuttered at times this season and both will look to take something from this game. Norwich City will hope to shine with their attacking prowess and Palace will be keen to score some much-needed goals.