Southampton v Crystal Palace
Tuesday, Jan 02 – 19:45pm
It’s hard to imagine where Southampton would be without Charlie Austin chipping in with some important goals over the last few weeks, but the Saints may be forced to face life without the striker, with reports that Austin could be out for two months with a hamstring tear. Mauricio Pellegrino’s side have struggled to collect points in December, with some huge losses to Leicester City and Spurs, and disappointing draws with Bournemouth and Huddersfield. Southampton are just about managing to keep adrift of the relegation zone at the moment, and their decision to tell Virgil van Dijk could have a huge impact come the end of the season.
Crystal Palace are one of the most unpredictable sides in the league at the moment. The Roy Hodgson effect has seen them beat the likes of Leicester and Watford, and almost get a result against Arsenal; however, they have struggled against some of the other clubs at the bottom of the table. Hodgson deserves credit for the work ethic he has instilled in his team, but the real test is still to come. The Eagles will see this game as a potential three points, and with Southampton feeling the pressure at the moment, Palace have a great chance of putting some daylight between themselves and the relegation zone.
What the stats tell us:
- The Saints have won seven of their last eight home matches against Crystal Palace in the Premier League – netting 17 goals and shipping five.
- The last time the Eagles won away at Southampton was back in November 1990 – winning 3-2 at the Dell.
- Southampton have won more Premier League matches against Crystal Palace than any other side since returning to the top-flight in 2012.
- Christian Benteke has found the back of the net five times over his last six meetings with Southampton in the Premier League.
Southampton claimed a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace back in September, putting a dampener on Roy Hodgson’s first game in charge of the Eagles. Palace have come on leaps and bounds since then, and while Hodgson only had four days to prepare for the reverse fixture, he now knows all about his squad and more importantly – how to grind out a result. Mauricio Pellegrino has lost his best defender and best striker in a matter of days, and it’s hard to envision Southampton taking anything from this one. Palace to win.