On March eighth, Crystal Palace will host Southampton at Selhurst Park. With neither team having won since mid-February, this is a chance for each of them to stop the rot with a victory. After starting the season really well Southampton’s season has leveled off. Palace have been very good since Tony Pulis took over and recently look like they have a good chance to stay up. This is a big three points for each team with both sides needing to get back on the winning track.
Compared to most teams at this point of the season, Palace and Southampton are in great shape injury-wise. Southampton will be without back up keeper Kelvin Davis and may be without Jos Hooiveld. Outside of those two backups, Southampton are injury free.
Palace have a few more injuries to contend with: Marouane Chamakh, Joe Ledley, Kagisho Dikgacoi, and Damian Delaney were all forced to pull out of international squads with injuries. All four are question marks for the game against Southampton.
The last four times these two teams have met the game has ended 2-0. The last three of these fixtures have gone the way of Southampton. Southampton have the fewest amount of defeats among teams outside of the top seven. Crystal Palace are tied with Cardiff City for fewest goals scored.
Southampton will inevitably have trouble breaking down a solid Crystal Palace team and will need their top creative player, Adam Lallana, to help break it down. Lallana will be full of confidence after assisting the only goal in England’s midweek 1-0 win over Denmark. Lallana has shown just how good he is this season by earning himself his first England cap. Lallana has created a chance every 47 minutes for the Saints and has shown he can break down the opponents’ defence. Lallana has also bagged seven goals this season showing he can create for others and score for himself. He will be a key player for Southampton in their attempt to grab all three points versus Crystal Palace.
Crystal Palace will try to make themselves tough to break down and Mile Jedinak will have a big job in the middle of midfield keeping the team organised. Jedinak is one of the few players in the league that has played every minute of the Premier League season so far. That shows Jedinak’s value to the team and that he is the first name on the team sheet every time. Jedinak’s role is to sit as a shield in front of the back four and win back possession, making it difficult for the other team to play. Jedinak leads the team is possession wins in the middle third (99), possessions wins in the defensive third (85), and interceptions (94). Jedinak will need to keep creative players, like Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez, quiet for Southampton and build the base for Crystal Palace to defend and then break from.
Southampton are clearly the more talented side, but Tony Pulis has installed a resoluteness and a toughness in this Crystal Palace side that gives them a chance in every game. Crystal Palace really need the points more than Southampton at this point with Palace in the relegation race and Southampton sitting pretty in midtable. While Palace are a much improved side, I see Southampton taking all three points.