After a tremendous last few seasons, Southampton have had a pretty disappointing season so far. Sitting mid-table in the Premier League and out of reckoning in both the League Cup and Europe, the FA Cup remains their only chance for silverware. However, they have an uphill task getting beyond Crystal Palace, whom they host on the coming Saturday in the third round of the competition.
Southampton will be without a number of key players for the tie with Pelle joining long time absentees Forster and Rodriguez on the medical table while the combative Victor Wanyama serves the first of his two suspensions for the sending off against Norwich.
However, in what can be termed as good news, manager Koeman has announced that Sadio Mane, who was dropped to the bench for the last game would start against Palace adding some much firepower to the side’s attack.
Yannick Bolasie misses out for the Eagles with an injury that will see him return only in the later stages of January or early February, while Wickham and Gayle would have to undergo a late fitness test before they are declared to feature in the tie.
- This will be 70th meeting between these two teams in all competitions, with Southampton winning on 34 occasions compared to Palace’s 11 wins.
- The two teams met in the FA Cup last season with Palace running out 2-3 victors at St Mary’s.
Stekelenburg, Martina, Fonte, Van Djik, Bertrand, Clasie, Davis, Ward-Prowse, Mane, Tadic, Long
Hennessey, Kelly, Dann, Delaney, Souare, McArthur, Jedinak, Zaha, Cabaye, Puncheon, Wickham.
The Senegalese footballer has been in a fine form ever since making the move from Red Bull Salzburg last season. The Winger has showcased strength, pace, trickery and a calm head in front of the goal, making him a constant threat to the opposition.
He will be keen to get behind the Crystal Palace defence and should they fail to spot his runs off the ball, they will be in trouble. With 7 goals and 6 assists in all competitions this season, Mane has been critical to Southampton’s attack and would be critical to their fortunes on Saturday.
The Palace academy product is a fine example of how extended playing time can revive the flailing careers of young footballers. His performances on the wings have impressed many and the 23 year old’s career is on a rise yet again. Having shown an ability to brush past defences without breaking a sweat, Zaha is often a terrifying prospect for a full-back.
The English international has created 21 chances this season and scored 2 goals. While he possesses the primary attributes of an attacker, Zaha has shown combative skills in the middle of the park and can often be seen tracking back to lend added strength to the defence.
Crystal Palace are in a better form going into the game and we expect the trend to continue. We predict that the Eagles will nick the game 2-1.