Crystal Palace host Aston Villa on match day 3 of the Barclays Premier League on 22nd, the Saturday of August. With a win in the first game followed by a loss in the next for both the teams, none can be confirmed as a favourite for this game. While Villa have been mediocre to say the least over the two seasons, Crystal Palace are on a rise under Alan Pardew. Having made buys like Yohan Cabaye, “Pardiola”’s stock has risen significantly since the last days of his previous (Newcastle United) tenure.
Crystal Palace have a rather injury free squad compared to their visitors for the afternoon. Striker Fraizer Campbell (Hamstring), Appiah ( ACL Knee), Speroni ( Hand) and Chamakh (Hamstring) are expected to miss the game as they nurse their way back from injuries. We expect Alan Pardew to begin with the same 11 that began against Arsenal with the likes of Mutch and Bamford coming on from the bench to make an impact.
Tim Sherwood has some critical injuries to handle at the very beginning of the season. The absence of Carles Gil (Hamstring) and Gardner (Ankle) means Villa have positions to fill in the midfield. However, there is some good news as Grealish is expected to be a part of the team that travels to the Selhurst Park. We expect the manager to start with Rudy Gestede in place of Scott Sinclair.
This will be the 35th game between the two sides in all competitions, with Aston Villa having won 13 and Palace 10 with the rest resulting in a draw.
Aston Villa have managed to win on just 3 of their 17 visits to the Selhurst Park in the past.
Idrissa Gueye of Aston Villa currently tops the charts for the most duels won by a midfielder in the premier league this season having won 18 duels.
McCarthy, Delaney, Ward, Dann, Souare, McArthur, Puncheon, Bolasie, Cabaye, Zaha, Wickham.
Guzan, Clark, Bacuna, Amavi, Richards, Westwood, Gueye, Veretout, Ayew, Agbonlahor, Gestede.
It came as a surprise to many fans and pundits alike when Yohan Cabaye signed for Crystal Palace from the colours of the high flying PSG. While the decision made perfect footballing sense for the player with assured playing time given his quality, what made many people furious is the ease with which Palace managed to get his signature. He has been running the show, spraying passes at an accuracy of 93%, making crucial tackles (17 in 2 games) and doing his defensive bit for the team (11 interceptions in 2 games). Aston Villa could play into the hands of the player as he sits deep and runs the show. Should they push their midfield higher up the pitch to negate his effect on the game, it could leave gaps in between the midfield and defence for Cabaye to release his team mates into. If they choose to sit back and let Cabaye run the show, it could well be the tactic that cost them the game since the Frenchman has proved himself in the past.
Westwood will need to in top form to make this Aston Villa side tick. At the moment, the squad looks nothing short of ordinary and it will come down to the workmanship of the likes of the Englishman to chalk out victories this season. While an assist in the first two games might not seem like a bad idea to begin with, it’s his overall numbers that fail to excite. He has a passing accuracy in excess of 80%, however, his stats in the middle of the park read 4 successful tackles, 2 fouls, 2 blocks, 2 interceptions and a yellow card.
He will need to keep the rustle up the Palace midfield before they lay a stronghold on the game or it could turn into mayhem.
While they might have lost to Arsenal, Palace still put up a very good fight and we expect them into this game brimming with the confidence their manager has instituted into this side since he has taken over. However, Villa won’t be a walk in the park. We expect Villa to put in a solid performance and going away from Selhurst Park with a crucial away point. We expect the game to end 1-1.