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crystal palace 2 1000x500It’s without any doubt a bottom of the table clash when we play Crystal Palace tomorrow at Selhurst Park. Defeat at the hands of Newcastle last Monday has left us in 17th place in the Premier League, just one point ahead of each of the three teams in the bottom three.

Palace are hardly any better off than us. They are one place ahead of us and that is courtesy of a better goal difference with us on minus 15 and Palace on minus 9.

If away form was the guide, then Palace wouldn’t really be in much trouble. They’ve picked up seven points on the road but it is at home where they have struggled. We have the second worst home record so far this season; Palace have the worst. We have won four points from the win against Bournemouth and the Huddersfield draw while Palace have just two points.

Those two points have come against Newcastle (0-0) and Arsenal (2-2) but they’ve suffered home defeats against Liverpool, Southampton, Wolves and Spurs. The two goals they scored against Arsenal, both Luka Milivojevic penalties, are the only goals they’ve scored at home this season. It’s some change in fortunes for a team that won each of its final five home games last season.

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It really is going to be a battle of the strugglers. We haven’t won a game since the 30th September and for Palace it is two weeks before that since a Wilfried Zaha goal gave them a 1-0 win at Huddersfield. Their only other win was 2-0 at Fulham when Jeffrey Schlupp and Zaha were the goalscorers.

We do have some good news in terms of player availability. Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson missed Monday’s game through illness but he’s available again and is likely to make an immediate return with Robbie Brady likely to drop down to the bench. Central defenders Ben Gibson and James Tarkowski are both all but there. Gibson was on the bench against Newcastle while, having both played in a behind closed doors game, they could be set for places among the subs with Kevin Long expected to continue alongside Ben Mee.

Our team could be: Joe Hart, Matt Lowton, Kevin Long, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Steven Defour, Jack Cork, Aaron Lennon, Chris Wood, Sam Vokes. Subs from: Tom Heaton, Phil Bardsley, James Tarkowski, Ben Gibson, Ashley Westwood, Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady, Matěj Vydra, Ashley Barnes.

Palace have had their injury problems this season but they now appear to be clearing up with only Scott Dann expected to be unavailable. A much stronger player availability last week saw them secure an away point from a 0-0 draw at Manchester United.

Palace’s team in that game was: Wayne Hennessey, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, James Tomkins, Mamadou Sakho, Patrick van Aanholt, James McArthur, Luka Milivojevic, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Max Meyer, Andros Townsend, Wilfried Zaha. Subs: Vincent Guaita, Martin Kelly, Joel Ward, Jason Puncheon, Alexander Sørloth. Jeffrey Schlupp, Jordan Ayew.

 

LAST TIME WE WERE THERE

 

Our trip to Palace last season was our first away game of 2018. It brought just a third away defeat of the season with Palace winning the game 1-0 and we could have no complaints at the result after we struggled to find any sort of form throughout the game.

We’d beaten Palace at home earlier in the season as they made a disastrous start but we arrived at Selhurst Park to play a team having lost only once in eleven games while we were suddenly in our worst run all season.

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The only goal of the game was a disastrous one for our defence. Phil Bardsley, James Tarkowski and NIck Pope could have all done much better as Bakary Sako scored. So much were Palace on top that it was a relief to get to half time at just 1-0 down.

We did improve in the second half but never really looked likely to get back into it and the only excitement came with the introduction of Georges-Kévin  NKoudou for a debut. He went on a couple of mazy runs that got people a bit excited but in the end this was one of our poorer performances of the season.

The teams were;

Crystal Palace: Wayne Hennessey, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, James Tomkins, Martin Kelly, Patrick van Aanholt, Wilfried Zaha, Luka Milivojevic, Jairo Riedewald, James McArthur, Bakary Sako, Christian Benteke. Subs not used: Julian Speroni, Pape Souaré, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Damien Delaney, Yoan Cabaye, Chung-yong Lee, Sullay Kaikai.

Burnley: Nick Pope, Phil Bardsley, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson (Nahki Wells 85), Steven Defour, Jack Cork, Ashley Barnes, Jeff Hendrick (Georges-Kévin NKoudou 63), Sam Vokes. Subs not used: Anders Lindegaard, Matt Lowton, Kevin Long, Ashley Westwood, Jon Walters.

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