Thursday, December 13, 2018

Prediction: Southampton vs Crystal Palace

Verdict: Crystal Palace win

Best Odds: 16/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

With Southampton and Crystal Palace successfully taking points off of both the Manchester clubs last weekend, Roy Hodgson and Mauricio Pellegrino will be desperate to start 2018 with a win. With both sides flirting with the relegation zone, a win for a revitalized Crystal Palace side will see them leapfrog the Saints in the table. As for Southampton, the south coast club are on an eight-game winless run and are freefalling down the table.

Southampton

Despite Southampton putting on a resilient performance and leaving Old Trafford with a point last weekend, the Saints winless streak has not come to an end. Appearing to be a man under pressure Mauricio Pellegrino will be desperate to improve on his sides form at St. Mary’s this year. Only picking up three wins at home this year, the Saints have failed to win at St. Mary’s in their last five attempts, a run stemming back to November. Even more worryingly for the south coast club, failure to pick up three points on Tuesday night will see Southampton go nine consecutive games without a win, their worst top-flight run in over a decade. Despite being sat 14th in the table, Pellegrino’s side are only two points above the relegation zone. If results do go against the Saints this week, it could see them fall into the drop zone for the first time this season.

Team News

Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy looks set to once again get the nod over Fraser Forster after recording a clean sheet against Manchester United on Saturday.

However, the Saints are still without striker Charlie Austin, who is serving a three-match suspension. Left-back Ryan Bertrand (hamstring) could be back in contention.

Crystal Palace

As for Palace, the Eagles were within touching distance of pulling off a monumental upset on Sunday afternoon. Playing out a dramatic 0-0 draw with runaway league leaders Manchester City, had Luka Milivojevic converted his 92nd-minute penalty, Roy Hodgson’s revitalized Palace side could have been the first team to defeat Manchester City this season. Never the less, the Eagles earnt themselves an eye-catching point and continued their fine run of form. With a 3-2 home defeat to Arsenal their only loss in their previous 10 matches, Palace now sit 17th in the table. Although they may have drastically turned their fortunes around under the former England boss, the southeast London side only remain a single point above the drop zone.

Team News

Crystal Palace trio Ruben Loftus-Cheek, James McArthur and Jeffrey Schlupp could all return from injury.

However, Jason Puncheon and Scott Dann were injured against Manchester City on New Year’s Eve and will miss out. With Mamadou Sakho and Joel Ward also injured, Martin Kelly and Damien Delaney will vie for selection in central defense.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Southampton have won seven and drawn the other of their eight Premier League home matches against Crystal Palace. It is Southampton’s longest unbeaten home run against another Premier League side.
  • The Saints could remain winless in nine consecutive Premier League matches for the first time since a run of 10 from November 2004 to January 2005.
  • Saints have kept only two clean sheets at home this season, against strugglers Swansea and West Brom.
  • Crystal Palace have only lost one of their last 10 Premier League games, having been beaten in 13 of their previous 16.
  • The Eagles’ only away win in 2017-18 was last month’s 3-0 victory at Leicester.

Conclusion

Although the Saints may sit three places above their guests on Tuesday night, it really is a battle of the in-form against the out of form. Despite not conceding at Old Trafford last weekend, Southampton have only managed to keep two clean sheets at St. Mary’s this year and they’re also without a win since November. Although Palace may have only secured one win on their travels this year, their 3-0 victory away at Leicester has highlighted their resurgence. Coming off the back of a strong performance against Manchester City, backing the Eagles to leave the east coast with three points seems like the best bet here.

Verdict: Crystal Palace win

Best Odds: 16/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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