These two sides are still firmly in the relegation fight, but neither can fall into the relegation zone this weekend due to Sunderland’s appearance at Wembley. The contrasting styles will throw up an interesting match on Sunday as Swansea will try to play possession football, while Crystal Palace are defensively solid and like to contain their opponents. Their wingers, Jason Puncheon and Tom Ince, give the side the ability to break quickly and score on the counter. The home side’s form has picked up since Garry Monk took temporary charge, but the Europa League has come around again which will no doubt affect the side. This match comes around only three days after a trip to Napoli, so it’s a real opportunity for Palace to take advantage of the Welsh side’s fatigue.
Despite being in a relegation battle, Swansea are sitting in 12th place, only three points away from the top half. However the tight nature of the league this season means the Swans are only four points above Sunderland in the drop zone, while the North East side does have a game in hand, albeit away to Manchester City. Under Monk, they have collected four points from three matches, including an impressive 3-0 win in the derby against Cardiff. There has been a move to a more attacking approach as shown by the side scoring seven league goals since the managerial change was made, they had only scored six in their previous seven league matches under Laudrup. Their new attacking approach was evident against Liverpool as they played extremely well scoring three goals at Anfield which is no mean feat.
Crystal Palace have also benefited hugely from their managerial change, although Tony Pulis has been in his post a lot longer than his opposing number. The London side looked certainties for relegation over the first few months of the season, but under Pulis they fought their way up the table, sitting in 16th place currently, they do have a game in hand over most of their rivals though. They are only two points clear of the relegation zone, however Pulis has been effective at taking points from teams around him since arriving at Palace, so he’ll be hoping his side can pick up three points on Sunday. In their last five matches, they have won three and lost two. Their two losses came against sides in the top six in Arsenal and Manchester United, while the three wins came against Stoke, Hull and West Brom, highlighting the Eagles impressive ability to win crucial ‘six pointers’.
In the meeting between the two sides at Selhurst Park, Swansea ran out 2-0 winners with Michu and Nathan Dyer netting the goals. Both teams have different managers now, so this result is unlikely to have any sort effect on Sunday’s match. The last time these two clubs played a league match at the Liberty Stadium came during the 2010/11 Championship campaign, the year Swansea were promoted to the Premier League. The home side won 3-0 on that occasion with Darren Pratley and two Scott Sinclair penalties securing the points.
Swansea became the first away team to score three times at Anfield since December 2012. They became only the second team to do it since Brendan Rodgers became Liverpool manager, Aston Villa were the other.
Crystal Palace have the fewest amount of draws in the Premier League this season with only two so far this campaign. They have the ability to win tight games which will put them in a good position in the run in.
After adjusting to the Premier League, Wilfried Bony is starting to perform consistently for Swansea with his goal tally standing at 10 for the season. If he hits the 15 goal mark, that will be a very good opening season in England and this Sunday provides the Ivorian with a great opportunity to add to his tally. He will also be hoping to stake a claim for a starting spot for his country with his performances for Swansea over the next few months. His shooting accuracy of 38% and chance conversion of 17% are very good, they show he has brought his Eredivisie form to the Premier League. His pace and strength will cause Palace lots of problems at the weekend, especially as they lack pace themselves defensively. Swansea will need to take their chances on Sunday as their opposition are very strong at the back and Bony will be the man carrying the majority of the side’s goal threat.
Mile Jedinak has been one of Palace’s key players this season. He has carried on the form he showed in the Championship, and he has proven he can cut it in the top flight. His role playing in front of the back four is vital to Palace’s fortunes. His ground 50-50 win rate of 58% and aerial 50-50 win rate of 72% are very impressive showing his ability to limit the chances presented to opposition sides. His aerial prowess also comes into play at set pieces, both defensively and offensively. He has made the fourth most amount of tackles in the league with 88 at a success rate of 76.14% which again shows his abilities as a defensive midfielder. He’ll be key on Sunday as Swansea like to keep possession for prolonged periods, Jedinak will need to win possession back frequently for his side to ensure they have a chance of scoring themselves on the counter.
Swansea could be fatigued after their European exploits in Napoli. Leon Britton and Jonjo Shelvey are doubts after missing the match in Italy. Kyle Bartley and Michu are likely to still be missing on Sunday. Angel Rangel and Nathan Dyer are likely to start after starting from the bench in mid week. Jonathan de Guzman scored in midweek, so he’ll be hoping to keep his place against Palace.
Crystal Palace have no major injury concerns. Their only injured player, Jerome Thomas, could be available for selection for Sunday after a back injury. They could remain unchanged from their loss at home to Manchester United or Pulis may be tempted to recall Cameron Jerome in place of Glenn Murray who made his first start in the Premier League against the champions.
I think this match will end in a draw, which would be rare for a match involving Crystal Palace. Swansea will be tired after their European match and Palace may struggle to capitalise given their lack of goals. Swansea may not be able to breakthrough the strong defence of Palace, while it’s important for both sides that they don’t lose.