On September 28th Crystal Palace travel to St Mary’s Park to take on Southampton. The Saints will look to continue their relatively successful start to the season, after getting eight points from their first five games including a win away to Liverpool, while Palace will look to rebound from their tough start to the season after only achieving three points from their first five games. This will be the first time the teams will have met in the Premier League since the 2004/2005 season.
According to Physioroom.com, Southampton have no injuries to deal with while Palace have the most injuries in the league, at the moment. Palace will be struggling with Damien Delaney, Jack Hunt, Paddy McCarthy, Lewis Price, Yannick Bolasie, Joel Ward, and Jonathan Parr all questionable for the game. Palace are also missing Jonathan Williams and Glen Murray long term. Murray, Palace’s leading goal scorer last season, is still missing after a torn ACL late last season. Williams, a player who looks to have a bright future, is out after damaging ankle ligaments on international duty with the Welsh national side.
Southampton had to play midweek in the Capital One Cup against League One side Bristol City and won by a scoreline of 2-0. Southampton made 11 changes for the game against Bristol from the game against Liverpool so it should not have a huge effect on players that will play in this game against Palace. Crystal Palace will be boosted by the return of Kagisho Dikgacoi after he was suspended for the Swansea game after his controversial red card against Manchester United. Ian Holloway will make his return to the touchline having served his two match ban that was handed down after his comments made in post the Tottenham game.
This is the first time that Palace and Southampton have been in the Premier League at the same time since 2004-2005 and that season both teams were relegated to the Championship. In the 2004-2005 season, the two times they played both ended in 2-2 draws. The last time both teams were in the same league, 2011-2012 in the Championship, both games were 2-0 victories for Southampton. While Southampton have excelled on defense this season, allowing only two goals, which is second best in the league, Palace have struggled conceding eight goals in five matches, tied for second worst in the League.
Two players that could be major players in the game are Marouane Chamakh and Morgan Schneiderlin. Both players are good players for the team and could be very influential.
Chamakh was one of Palace’s many transfers this summer and has played a part in every league game so far, the polar opposite of his last two years at Arsenal. After coming in as a substitute in the first game, Chamakh has started the last four league games for Palace. Chamakh has come in as a striker meant to not only score goals but also hold up play for Palace. He has won 49% of his aerial duels, winning one every 5.88 minutes and has done a decent job of creating chances for teammates since arriving at Palace, creating a chance every 67 minutes, but has not exactly lit the world on fire. Chamakh has only scored one goal for Palace so far but he actually has a 100% chance conversion rate. If Chamakh can get into more dangerous position and get into positions that give him the opportunity to shoot he could be a huge contributor in Palace’s bid to stay up in the Premier League. Chamakh could go and improve his goal tally in this game and help Palace get a crucial three points.
Morgan Schneiderlin’s presence in the Southampton midfield could be crucial for the Saints in this game and the entire season. Schneiderlin’s job is to win the ball back and dominate the middle third of the pitch for the Saints. With the attacking fluid style of play that Southampton like to produce they need good holding midfielders to help protect them against the counter attack. Schneiderlin has won the ball back in the middle third of the pitch every 27.6 minutes of play this season along with winning 89.5% of his tackles, making one every 20 minutes. Schneiderlin has been able to win 49% of the 50-50 duels this season as long as making eight interceptions this season. Schneiderlin’s ability to win the ball back will be big for Southampton’s push up the table this season competing with other midfielders. Against Palace, as they also like to come out and attack, Schneiderlin will try to dominate the midfield, along with Victor Wanyama, and stop Palace from playing around and also hope to catch the opposition on the counter if they try and press for a goal.
Both of these teams like to come out and play attacking football and it should be a nice open game. With Palace struggling on defence, as mentioned above they have allowed right league goals, and being on the road it will be tough for Palace to be able to get clean sheet. If Palace are unable to keep a clean sheet they will have to be the first team to score of the Saints in the month of September and the first team to score at St Mary’s, in the league, since August 24th. Neither team has been able to really light the world a flame with their goal scoring prowess, Southampton only scoring three goals and Palace only scoring four, they will hope to be able to really get off the mark in this game.
Prediction: Southampton 2-0