High-flying Crystal Palace head into the match with Southampton on the back of a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park, with the Eagles coming very close to defeating Everton. The Saints, on the other hand, are very low on spirits at the moment despite ending a three-match losing run by sharing spoils with Aston Villa at St Mary’s.
Crystal Palace have been going strong ever since Alan Pardew took over the reigns, and the Selhurst Park outfit currently sit pretty in sixth. And while the Eagles boast a disappointing record against top 7 sides (1-1-5), they have been thoroughly impressive when facing mid table teams and relegation strugglers. Alan Pardew’s charges have had their share of ups and downs this term, but their spirits were always high and the absence of pressure has helped them record some memorable wins, with 2-1 away triumph over Liverpool and 5-1 hammering of Newcastle United springing to mind. The latter result was a perfect proof that the Eagles rarely worry too much about under-par performances, having achieved it mere five days after the disappointing home loss to out-of-sorts Sunderland. And having also proved their worth in weekend’s match with in-form Everton, we can see them piling more misery on Southampton on Saturday afternoon.
Alan Pardew welcomes back Wilfried Zaha from a one-match ban, with the Manchester winger almost certain to return to the starting line-up.
However, fellow midfielder Bakary Sako continues to struggle with a hamstring problem, while Yohan Cabaye will be banned if he receives a yellow card against Southampton.
Southampton did well to establish themselves as a genuine top table club over the last few years, but this season is proving more difficult than expected. Unlike the previous summer, when a host of key men had left the club, the squad didn’t undergo too many changes ahead of the current campaign, although the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne appear to have been sorely missed. The Saints did enjoy a bright start to the season, quickly climbing to European positions, but they have since suffered a dip in form and are currently going through a very rough patch. After back to back Premier League defeats to Stoke City and Manchester City effectively ended the good run of performances, Southampton were hammered 6-1 by Liverpool in the Capital One Cup and it will take them a while to recover from such a disappointing loss. The poor home showing in the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa proved that the lack of confidence is seriously affecting the team’s showings, and they will clearly have to show massive improvement if they want to stop in-form Eagles in their tracks.
The good news is that key midfielder Victor Vanyama is fit to face Crystal Palace after recovering from an ankle problem he picked up last weekend.
However, the likes of Jay Rodriguez, Fraser Forster and Florin Gardos continue to miss out and they will not be back any time soon.
Key Factors to Consider
- Crystal Palace have won five of six matches against teams placed 10th or lower this term
- Both teams scored in three of Palace’s last four Premier League fixtures
- Southampton lost three of last four matches in all competitions
- Saints scored in each of last five away games on all fronts
- Graziano Pelle has failed to score in last six games for club and country
Crystal Palace have been playing great football of late and with Wilfried Zaha back to the side, we are backing them to extend the excellent run against bottom-table sides. Meanwhile, Southampton are completely out of confidence and with star player Graziano Pelle unable to find his scoring boots, home win looks the right choice here.
Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 16/10
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