Crystal Palace vs AFC Bournemouth Preview: Both sides keen to kick start respective campaigns
Crystal Palace vs AFC Bournemouth Preview | Image : VAVEL UK / Jonathan Walsh

AFC Bournemouth travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon as both clubs search for their first victory of the season.

The sides have just a point and a single goal to share between them in the Premier League as slow starts have stalled the respective Clubs’ hope of gaining momentum at the beginning of the season.

Poor starts to the season

The Eagles have lost their opening two league games, although each defeat came by the single goal to nil. West Brom visited Selhurst Park on the opening day and Salomon Rondon’s header gifted the Baggies all three points on a disappointing afternoon for Alan Pardew’s side.

Palace then travelled to Tottenham Hotspur where they were rather fortunate to concede just the one goal. Victor Wanyama headed home following some poor defending to condemn the Eagles to their second-successive defeat.

A first victory of the season finally came in the English Football League Cup thanks to a 2-0 win over League Two side Blackpool, with goals coming from Clark Robertson’s own goal and Connor Wickham’s second half strike.

Meanwhile, Bournemouth have had a similarly bad start, although their opponents have been very tough. Manchester United came away from the South Coast with a 3-1 win on the opening day, before the ten-man Cherries lost late against West Ham as the Hammers hosted Premier League football at the London Stadium for the very first time.

Similarly to Palace, Eddie Howe’s side also recorded their first win of the season in midweek’s EFL Cup action courtesy of a 2-1 success against Morecambe.

Both sides will be looking to kick start their respective campaigns with a win on Saturday, although those in attendance could be in for quite a cagey affair, with not much room for error.

Bournemouth were defeated by Manchester United on the opening day | Photo: Getty images
Bournemouth were defeated by Manchester United on the opening day | Photo: Getty images

Head to head

This is a fixture that has hardly featured regularly in recent history, let alone in the top-flight of English football. The Eagles have spent the best part of 30 years in the top two tiers, whilst their South Coast opponents have only recently worked their way up having struggled to earn promotion out of the third tier, and even recently flirted with relegation to non-league.

However, Bournemouth actually have the upper hand in the head to head, although most of their victories came back when both sides used to meet in the third division (now League One) between the 1920s and early 1960s. A total of 66 games have been played between the two teams, with Bournemouth winning 28 and Palace winning 22.

Howe’s side took four points from their opponents last season, drawing 0-0 at the Vitality Stadium before going one better at Selhurst Park; coming back from behind to win 2-1.

Last season’s draw was the first time the two sides had met since 4 March 1989, when Bournemouth won 3-2 in the old second division (now known as the Championship). The Eagles were promoted that season, despite the Cherries doing the double over them, and went on to compete in the FA Cup final just 14 months later, before finishing third in the top-flight in 1991.

The managers

Palace boss Pardew bemoaned the poor fitness levels of his players in the opening two games, which saw the Eagles start with weaker squads due to many individuals still not fully fit after their respective Euro 2016 campaigns. However, Pardew insisted that fitness “are up” ahead of Bournemouth’s visit.

Pardew also spent plenty of time discussing Wilfried Zaha’s link with a move to Tottenham, which chairman Steve Parish also discussed last night – claiming Spurs’ bid for the winger was “ridiculous”. The Eagles boss admitted that he wasn’t aware of the actual figure offered by the North London club, although Parish claimed it was a mere £12 million plus £2 million in bonuses.

Bournemouth manager Howe admitted that the game was very important and that he is desperate to get more points on the board before the international break.

Team news

Pardew admitted that new signing Christian Benteke may only be fit enough for the bench having not had a full pre-season and only 45 minutes in midweek against Blackpool. Wickham is set to start in his place, whilst Steve Mandanda, Yohan Cabaye, James McArthur and James Tomkins could all be set to make their first league starts having returned to full fitness in the League Cup tie. Wayne Hennessey and Joe Ledley were confirmed as the only doubts by Pardew.

Harry Arter is in contention to feature for Bournemouth having served his one-match suspension in midweek following his red card against West Ham last weekend. Defender Marc Wilson, a debut scorer against Morecambe, could make his Premier League debut for the club having recently signed from Stoke City.

Crystal Palace predicted line-up: Mandanda; Ward, Tomkins, Dann, Souare; Cabaye, McArthur; Zaha, Puncheon, Townsend; Wickham.

Bournemouth predicted line-up: Boruc; Smith, Francis, S. Cook, Daniels; Ibe, L. Cook, Surman, Arter, King; Wilson.