Crystal Palace vs Southampton
K/O: 15:00 hours
Venue: Selhurst Park
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Southampton travel to Selhurst Park on Saturday with the intentions of taking all three points off Roy Hodgsons’ Crystal Palace, who will be looking to make sure their second home game of the season is one to remember for the fans.
Three points for the home side would really stamp their authority on their intentions in the Premier League this year. Currently sitting slap bang in the middle of the league in tenth, Hodgson will be urging his men to push to ensure an opportunity in Europe next season is a possibility. After a good away win against a strong looking Fulham side on the first game of the season, Palace can build on their performance and redeem themselves for their defeats to Liverpool and Watford the following two game weeks.
However, a currently winless Southampton will be desperate to get a win on the board as they are hovering above that ever familiar sight of the relegation zone, an area which Mark Hughes will be desperate to steer clear of.
Both teams will be on a high going in to the fixture as both were successful in their Carabao Cup second round games during the week. Southampton beating Brighton one-nil and Palace beating recently relegated Swansea by the same scoreline which will surely provide some much need confidence for both outfits.
After picking up a calf injury only 30 minutes before the fixture against Watford, James Tomkins is unlikely to make an appearance and will most likely be replaced by ex-Liverpool defender Martin Kelly. Palace will also be without Scott Dann and Souare for the fixture against the Saints.
With one win and two defeats in the league for the Eagles, it’s hard to be too disappointed, especially considering an impressive away win at Fulham’s who endured a hectic transfer window and summer transformation. However, a mid table finish is looking likely for Hodsgon’s men as being clinical seems to be an issue; with plentiful chances being created against Watford, but not taken.
One player that has the potential to really light up this fixture is Wilfred Zaha, with the youngster looking as sharp as ever. After a rocky spell with the fans Zaha has a lot to prove, and looks highly motivated in doing so. Another dilemma for Roy Hodgson is their new signing Sorloth who made a large impression after claims he didn’t have the ability to play in the Premier League, sinking Swansea in the Carabao Cup. A man certainly with a point to prove.
Mark Hughes is currently being blessed with an injury free squad, with Steven Davis making his full return against Brighton in the Carabao Cup. This almost creates a problem in itself as the choice of forwards is a difficult one. Realistically they are all under performing with Danny Ings being the only potential exception.
The Saints suffered a last minute defeat at home to Leicester but performed well with Mario Lemina being the star, he will once more be controlling the centre of the park for the Saints, however it’s a question of who will be joining him. Mark Hughes’ tactics so far have been largely directed around set pieces, which surely would constitute a start for James Ward-Prowse who has arguably one of the best dead ball techniques in the league.
With the Saints only picking up one point from the opening three games of the season, a win is vital for the morale of not only the team, but the fans as well. Pellegrino lost the support of the fans before he departed and I am sure Mark Hughes does not want the same outcome for himself.
Predicted Starting XI’s:
Crystal Palace: Hennesy; Wan-Bissaka, Kelly, Sakho, Van-Aanholt; Townsend, Milicojevic, McCarther, Schlupp; Benteke, Zaha
Southampton: McCarthy; Cedric, Vestergaard, Hoedt, Bertrand; El Younoussi, Ward-Prowse, Lemina, Redmond; Long, Ings
Score Prediction: Crystal Palace 1 Southampton 2
I think this result will come down to pressure. Crystal Palace have three points on the board, whereas Southampton have the incentive to go and give their all. Mark Hughes’ men have been playing decent attacking football and have been unlucky with chances, a stroke of luck may be something they require but I see the Saints kicking off their season properly this Saturday.