Southampton vs Crystal Palace Preview: Puel and Pardew look to advance to the fourth round

The two Premier League sides clash in the third round of the EFL Cup this evening.

Southampton vs Crystal Palace Preview: Puel and Pardew look to advance to the fourth round
Photo: Getty Images

Both Southampton and Crystal Palace will be hoping to build on their respective wins at the weekend when the two sides meet in the third round of the EFL Cup tonight. 

Southampton's start

Claude Puel hasn't had the easiest of starts to his life in England, with Southampton struggling to get off the mark in the league at the start of the season. Recently, things have improved though. The Saints have won back to back games after victories in the Europa League against Sparta Prague and Swansea in the league. 

Sunday's narrow win over Swansea will give Puel and his players confidence heading into tonight's game. Despite the margin of victory being small, the South Coast dominated from start to finish and had it been for better finishing, they could have scored at least four or five.

Palace on the up

Crystal Palace also suffered a poor start to the season but have recorded two wins on the spin in the last two weeks. A 2-1 win away to Middlesbrough was backed up by a 4-1 thrashing of Stoke just four days ago and it seems like Alan Pardew may have got his players back on side after a troublesome opening month. 

Andros Townsend has been playing at the top of his game and fellow new signing Christian Benteke has also hit the ground running. Yohan Cabaye may be fit to play after recovering from a groin problem.

There was rumours that Pardew had lost the dressing room last month. Photo: Getty
Rumours were circulating that Pardew had lost the dressing room last month. Photo: Getty

With both sides in good form, it will surely be a close knit affair at St. Mary's this evening. 

The statistics

Over the past few years, the two teams have been quite evenly matched when facing each other. In the last five meetings between the teams, Palace have won two and Southampton have won three. Before that the Eagles had lost five straight games against Southampton.

The last two times Crystal Palace have faced Premier League opponents in this competition, they have conceded a total of eight goals and lost both matches. 

A positive for Southampton fans is the fact that their side usually does well in this competition. The Saints have reached at least the fourth round in each of the last five years.

Selection headache

With Jay Rodriguez out injured, Puel now has to decide who to start in attack for Southampton. Charlie Austin has scored three goals in his last two games and he made an instant impact when coming off the bench on Sunday. 

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

The striker will be hoping he has done enough to earn a start tonight, however, Puel may opt to play a youthful side, in order to rest first team players.