With 3 wins in the last 5 games, the stock of Crystal Palace as well as Stoke City has risen over the last month or so. Both the teams now meet on Saturday, in what would be a crucial battle between the 8th side and 12th side in the league. With European qualification still in site, Stoke will have a greater impetus than their opponents for the night Crystal Palace, who sit 8 points clear of the drop zone and seem all but certain to stay afloat.
This match day could mark the return of Victor Moses, who was in sensational form before being sidelined with a groin injury. The other returning players could be the underrated full back Pieters and new recruit Wollscheid. However, the club will be without the services of Muniesa, Krkic and Odemwingie as they are nursing injuries. The availability of influential Jonathan Walters remains unknown as he has a fractured jawbone.
Crystal Palace have major injury concerns going into this game as Chung-Yong (Ankle), Mutch (Thigh), Campbell (Hamstring) and Chamakh (Hamstring) are all sit to miss this game as they recuperate from their respective injuries. The injury woes do not stop here as midfielder Puncheon (Hamstring) and winger Zaha (Thigh) are set to undergo a late fitness test before being declared fit for this game.
This will be the 53rd meeting between these sides in all competitions.
Of the 52 games played between the sides, 18 have been won by Stoke City, 21 by Crystal Palace, while the rest have ended as draws.
At Home Stoke have won 11 of their 26 ties against Crystal Palace.
Begovic, Bardsley, Shawcross, Wilson, Cameron, N’Zonzi, Whelan, Adam, Walters, Crouch
Speroni, Ward, Delaney, Dann, Kelly, McAthur, Ledley, Puncheon, Zaha, Bolasie, Murray.
The combative midfielder is a workhorse in his own right and his performance against a rejuvenated and equally in-form Crystal Palace will play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the game. He will look to disrupt the any kind of rhythm that Crystal Palace midfielders might build and also leave a stamp of authority over the midfield with his combativeness and deep vision. The left footed midfielder will also look to capitalize on any opportunities via set pieces.
In the absence of the suspended club captain Mile Jedinak, Scottish midfielder James McArthur will need to anchor the midfield against a side that have often unruffled their opponents at their home in the past. Having shown a combative presence in the park, the midfielder will have his task cut out in the absence of destroyer-in-chief Jedinak. Apart from 2 goals in the league so far, the midfielder has also been often seen creating chances for his team mates as he averages more than a single key pass per game. His pass completion percentage is close to 80% and he will need to be incisive as well effective with his passing at Britannia stadium to impact the game.
|2014/2015||Crystal Palace||1 – 1||Stoke City||Premier League|
|2013/2014||Crystal Palace||1 – 0||Stoke City||Premier League|
|Stoke City||2 – 1||Crystal Palace||Premier League|
We expect this to be a closed game where Crystal Palace will try and garner anything out of the match day. Going by that prediction, we believe the game will end in a goalless draw.
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