Premier League returns to the fold, and we have an in-form Crystal Palace taking on Aston Villa. Crystal Palace were impressive against Burnley as they drew 3-3 in an end-to-end thriller of a match. Meanwhile, Aston Villa were saved by a rock-solid performance from Emiliano Martinez and late Ollie Watkin’s late heroics to secure the 3 points against Brighton.
Since Patrick Vieira’s appointment as their manager, Crystal Palace have improved leaps and bounds as compared to last season. Currently sitting on 10th, this is exactly what the Eagles’ expected from their new coach.
Aston Villa decided to show the door to their old coach Dean Smith and replaced him by a relatively young but proven coach in Steven Gerrard. Currently, sitting at an unexpected low of 15th position.
WHEN AND WHERE?
Date: 27th November.
Time: 3:00 PM GMT.
Venue: Selhurst Park.
Referee: Michael Salisbury.
Assistant Referees: Ian Hussin and Wade Smith.
Fourth Official: Martin Atkinson.
VAR: Paul Tierney.
Vieira will have to field his team without Nathan Ferguson (calf injury) and James McArthur (hamstring injury). Both players will need time to recover from their respective injuries. Otherwise, the manager has a fully fit squad, and Benteke’s performance along with Edouard’s amazing display against Brighton & Hove Albion could see the duo starting and the latter replacing Ayew in the starting XI.
Aston Villa have several notable absentees but their biggest miss will be their defensive midfielder Douglas Luiz as the Brazilian is recovering from a hamstring strain. Other names include Bernard Traore and Trezeguet due to the thigh and knee injuries respectfully. There seems to be a rising competition for attacking spots in Villa as Leon Bailey makes himself ready, but the Jamaican is expected to retain his place on the bench for this game too. Steven Gerrard’s plan could see the striker duo Ings and Watkins start together.
Patrick Vieira will look to bag all three points against Aston Villa as a victory for Palace and a potential slip-up from teams above them could result in the Eagles climbing the points table. Crystal Palace are expected to lineup in their usual 4-3-3.
Recent games have witnessed that Vieira has chosen to start Benteke in the center and Odsonne Edouard on the left. This has benefited Palace because the presence of Benteke and Edouard in the front three means Patrick Vieira will have 2 proven goal scorers in the lineup.
Milivojevic has become a crucial part of Palace’s midfield as he offers more on the ball than Kouyate. Milivojevic’s progressive passing is the key reason behind Palace’s ability to shift gears in attacking half. Also, he possesses the ability to break the press of opponents by relying on his long passing skills. While breaking the press it simultaneously stretches the field vertically to the benefits of his attacking peers.
Gallagher has been at the heart of creativity for Palace, and we can expect the same level of quality from the youngster.
Steven Gerrard has begun his reign at Aston Villa, and he delivered a win against Brighton last week. Just like Crystal Palace, Aston Villa are a bit shaky defensively and it might be due to the absence of Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz. Gerrard has preferred his team to play with a back 4 and everything above them keeps changing with respect to the opposition.
Let us expect Aston Villa to lineup with a back 4. Most suitable formation currently for them is 4-3-3 or a modified version of it which looks like 4-1-2-2-1. Villa use their wide forwards closer to the striker which essentially nullifies the players to be termed as ‘wide forwards’. Last week we observed Danny Ings lineup with Watkins and this worked due to their positioning hypothetically being as a striker only. While Leon Bailey makes a fair shout to be in contention for the starting spot, his decision-making states either way. Buendia suits the role of 3rd forward due to his flair and creativity.
We could see England veteran Young making an appearance from the bench. The defence is expected to be the same.
Conor Gallagher has had a breakthrough season on loan at Palace this campaign and the young English lad shows no signs of stopping. His impressive performances on a consistent basis have surely earned the attention of Gareth Southgate. Gallagher has been at the centre of every play that goes in the Crystal Palace and his dynamic positioning in the team makes him Palace’s greatest asset this season.
Primarily a midfielder, Conor Gallagher generally joins the attack as a shadow striker which adds another quantity for Palace’s front 3. Having Gallagher moving forward allows Zaha to stretch the opponents’ defence which in turn allows Edouard to move inside the goalkeeper’s box. It has become routine for Palace and Gallagher and now, they will look to continue their pursuit of climbing up the points table.
It’s rare when a goalkeeper is listed as a key player for a specific club, but this is the case for Martinez and Villa. Martinez’s performance against Brighton helped Villa to earn a clean sheet as any slip-up or error could’ve easily changed the face of the match. Emi Martinez, since his arrival, has been a vocal presence behind the defence, and he really dominates his zone in 1vs1s as well as saving shots.
Martinez’s opponents tomorrow are a free-flowing in-form side that loves to play attacking football and he is expected to have a busy day in the box. Likes of Zaha, Benteke, and Edouard are capable to provide any and all kinds of threat for the Argentine keeper’s net.
Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Guaita; Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Gallagher, Milivojevic, Kouyate; Zaha, Benteke, Edouard.
Aston Villa (4-3-3): Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Nakamba, Ramsey; Buendia, Ings, Watkins.