Crystal Palace vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
K/O: 15:00 hours
Venue: Selhurst Park
Referee: Michael Oliver
Crystal Palace will have to try and reassert their home dominance on Saturday against an in-form Wolves side that are undefeated in their last four Premier League matches.
Roy Hodgson’s men showed a lack of discipline in their last Premier League outing against Bournemouth which ultimately cost them the game and at least a point. Uncharacteristically, his team were causing themselves more problems than their opponents which has been shown through their poor results at home so far this season. Outside the top six they’re second, behind Wolves, on goals conceded highlighting Roy’s tough to beat philosophy. Despite this, they have not been creating chances, even with Zaha’s presence of late. They sit precariously on seven points with a run of fixtures from October onwards, against Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.
Wolves, on the other hand, are looking to compete for the best of the rest spot, at least, with their current start to the Premier League. They have gone unbeaten in five Premier League games and held both Manchester clubs to draws. Wolves have only conceded six goals showing they’re up to the defensive challenge. Despite their rigidity, the Wanderers have created countless chances in most of their games this season. However, they will need to be more clinical to continue this impressive form as they’ve only accumulated eight goals from their chances to date.
The Eagles on the other hand really need to start adding points to their tally considering their November fixtures contain four games against sides of Champions League quality. Having said this, Wolves are in form, beating opponents of supposedly equal stature and getting results from those pushing for the title so a challenging game is certainly in store this weekend. Crystal Palace are yet to win a home game this season which only adds to the pressure Roy will be feeling with such a poor start to the campaign.
Palace will be looking to Zaha to be the creator and finisher and return some form of glory to Selhurst Park. He seems to be the key to Crystal Palace’s attack and is always in the crosshairs of the opposition.
His forward colleague, Christian Benteke, is still a doubt to start but may feature at some point with a return any day. Another striker in Conor Wickham, has returned to training from his calf injury and could get a place on the bench. Midfielder Max Meyer has yet to make a start for Palace and could be available for selection for the clash on Saturday as well defenders Scott Dann and Riedewald.
Palace have always seemed to have trouble with consistency in their performance. On their day, they can beat teams on the break quicker than most others but if they’re not firing on all cylinders, they’re susceptible to being turned over. Zaha is key to this squad at the minute and others need to begin to contribute their talents on the pitch, otherwise more defeats could be on the horizon.
If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, and that’s how Wolves will approach this game with no injuries to report. It’s likely Nuno will start with his regular eleven even though winger Ivan Cavaleiro broke the deadlock within two minutes of coming off the bench in his Premier League debut last weekend.
Matt Doherty continues to supply for Wolves as he assisted Jonny Castro in an impressive performance from the pair. The game was fairly even for the most part but Wolves improved their conversion rate last weekend while keeping a clean sheet. The defence have been solid, they look comfortable on the ball, organised and even cause problems going forward from long through balls and set pieces.
Predicted Starting XI’s:
Crystal Palace: Hennessey; Van Aanholt, Sakho, Tomkins, Wan-Bissaka; McArthur, Milivojevic, Kouyate, Meyer, Townsend; Zaha
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Rui Patricio; Doherty, Boly, Coady, Bennett, Castro; Neves, Moutinho; Jota, Raul, Costa
Score Prediction: Crystal Palace 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2
The Eagles are flying dangerously low in the table at the minute with issues in defence and relying on Zaha to produce the goods up front. Wolves will feel confident enough to add a delay to Palace’s first home win of the season. Nuno Santo Espirito’s man play football in a coherent and fast-paced manner which could be enough to startle the Palace rear guard. No doubt the home fans will be behind their team and Roy has proven time again that his men should not be written off but they can only fight back for so long.
Considering both sides current form, it seems Wolves may have the talent to silence Zaha but may limit Doherty’s attacking threat. It will be challenging but the visitors look the better side at the moment and a win is certainly possible.