It was only a few years ago that both of these outfits were scrapping for their Championship survival and when one bears this in mind, it’s incredible to see the positions of both Crystal Palace and Southampton. While the former are fighting the top flight drop, opponents Saints are in a completely comfortable position and occupy 9th spot ahead of this encounter.
Despite their lowly place of 16th, Palace will be delighted with their current plight. Having been labelled as certainties for the drop just a few months ago, the fact that Tony Pulis’ side now sit three points above the bottom three speaks volumes about the Welshman’s success. They are hardly the most consistent side in the division, but having won three of their last six one would have to question if they are still relegation candidates. Their form since Pulis took over has been inspiring to say the least and having also won their last three at home, it looks as though Selhurst Park is becoming a fortress as well.
Southampton found themselves in an identical position to Palace last year, although the St Mary’s outfit have well and truly kicked on and will be looking to cement their position in the top half of the division. With eight points keeping them above 10th position, it looks extremely likely that Mauricio Pochettino’s are going to finish in a hugely respectable place and give them the perfect platform to invest in their side for the next campaign. However, Pochettino will know the importance of rectifying recent form, with Saints now on a run which has seen them lose their last three games. On a more positive note, even though they have suffered defeat in their last two away games, prior to that they had collected seven points from a possible nine on the road.
One of the key reasons behind Crystal Palace’s recent success has been striker Marouane Chamakh, although the Eagles might be blighted by the former Arsenal man’s absence as he struggles with a hamstring problem. It gets worse for Tony Pulis in other areas as well, with the likes of Kagisho Dikacoi, Damien Delaney and Joe Ledley all rated as touch and go following international duty. There is little to report for the visitors on the other hand, with the only piece of news removing the influential Gaston Ramirez who is looking to make a start after recovering from his long-term injury last week.
As for a prediction, we think this could be a game where Crystal Palace lose their recent record. While the Eagles have some impressive form to their name, they do have several injury concerns and this will hinder them significantly. Saints on the other hand have looked relatively solid away from home throughout the campaign and when one bears this in mind, our tip will be a 1-0 victory for the visitors.