The hosts sit in 13th place with 13 points on the back of a disappointing 3-0 loss against Everton. Calvert-Lewin, Gordon and McNeil were on the scoresheet for the Toffees to end the Eagles’ 3 game unbeaten run in the league handing Viera his 4th loss of the season in 11 games.
Southampton have endured a 3 game unbeaten streak and their latest fixture saw them chart the headlines by holding table-toppers Arsenal to a 1-1 draw capping off a solid defensive performance by Hassenhutl’s men. Despite conceding within the first 10 minutes of the game, the Saints remained determined to get something out of the game and equalized in the 65th minute thanks to a Stuart Armstrong goal.
When & Where?
Date: 29th November 2022.
Time: 2:00 PM.
Venue: Selhurst Park.
Referee: Michael Salisbury.
Assistants: Nick Hopton, Wade Smith.
Fourth Official: Tim Robinson.
VAR: David Coote.
Assistant VAR: Richard West.
Patrick Vieira does have some injury worries ahead of the game with fullback duo Nathaniel Clyne and Chris Richards ruled out for the game with ankle and thigh injuries respectively. After missing out on the last game due to a suspension, Cheick Doucoure could be back into the first team for the Eagles in the middle of the park. Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise will keep their place in the starting XI with Odsonne Edouard in danger of dropping onto the bench after a run of disappointing performances. Mateta is expected to replace the French striker in the starting XI alongside Wilfred Zaha while Milejovic could be benched to accommodate Doucoure in the no.6 position.
Hassenhutl will be without his key youngsters as Romeo Lavia, Kyle Walker-Peters, Tino Livramento and Bella-Kotchap all unavailable recovering from long-term injuries. Oriol Romeu will also be a significant absentee after missing out against Arsenal last weekend. Lavia, who suffered a hamstring injury, has returned to first-team training but the game against the Eagles might come too soon for the Belgian. The rest of the Saints squad is expected to remain the same like last weekend against Arsenal.
Crystal Palace have had an inconsistent start to their season after failing to win consecutive games so far this season. Viera’s men have either lost or drawn sides after winning each of their 3 games this season highlighting their inconsistency which is costing the Eagles points this season. After last season’s 12th place finish, the Eagles faithful would have had their eyes on a rare top-half finish with the team having enough quality to achieve such a feat.
The 3-0 loss against Everton in which they were heavy favourites to beat the Toffees comfortably would have been a wake up call for Viera and co. who tried a new system in the game which backfired. The Frenchman opted to start with a 4-1-4-1/4-2-3-1 hybrid with Zaha, Ayew, Olise, and Edouard playing up top and Milejovic being the holding midfielder allowing Eze to advance and support the attack.
This meant the Eagles had just one defensive midfielder in the middle of the park getting exposed during transitions. A switch back to their usual 4-3-3 could be seen by the Eagles when they lineup against Southampton with the injury return of Doucoure helping Viera add more steel and defensive stability in the midfield.
Southampton’s game against Arsenal worked all according to plan as the Saints frustrated the Gunners by holding a narrow compact low block and playing more counter-attacking football. Ainsley Maitland Niles was unavailable to play against his parent club Arsenal and the Englishman could return into the heart of the midfield alongside Ward Prowse after his solid display in the win against Bournemouth. Scoring on the road has been a huge headache for Hassenhutl as the Saints have scored just 4 times away from home so far.
A solid attacking performance by the strike duo Che Adams and Joe Aribo would be much needed for their side if they are to cause trouble to the Palace defence. The attack isn’t the only area of the pitch struggling as the Saints’ defence also is having a hard time as they have conceded atleast twice in each of their last 9 away games against London teams. Being disciplined defensively while also converting the chances created in the final third would be the game plan made by Hassenhutl trying to replicate the performance against Arsenal which could have ended in a win had they been more clinical.
The Scottish striker has been his side’s savior on the road this season scoring 75% of his side’s goals. He scored 7 times and assisted thrice last season in the league and is already halfway there this season with 3 goals and an assist to his name. The Palace defence has conceded 8 times in their last 4 games and Adams could be a player to further inflict damage to Viera’s side.
The Ivorian has scored 5 goals in 10 appearances this season over performing his xG of 3.3. The forward has completed 2.38 dribbles per game which is amongst the 87th percentile in the league along with registering 2.29 shots per 90. A Southampton defence without Tino Livramento and Kyle Walker-Peters as fullbacks could be an opportunity for Zaha to make his mark on the game and help his side get 3 points.
Crystal Palace predicted XI vs Southampton: Guaita; Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Schlupp, Doucoure, Eze; Olise, Mateta, Zaha.
Southampton predicted XI vs Crystal Palace: Bazunu; Lyanco, Salisu, Caleta-Car, Perraud; Elyounoussi, Ward-Prowse, Maitland-Niles, S. Armstrong; A. Armstrong, Adams.