Crystal Palace vs Swansea City Preview: Both sides desperate for three points

Crystal Palace vs Swansea City Preview: Both sides desperate for three points

The Premier League strugglers go head-to-head at Selhurst Park

Sam Smith

Sam Allardyce takes charge of his first home game as Crystal Palace manager as they welcome relegation rivals Swansea City to Selhurst Park.

The Eagles have picked up just one point from the former England manager’s first two games and will be keen to steer clear of the relegation zone with a victory against the Swans.

Both sides have won just once since the South Wales side’s astonishing 5-4 win against the Eagles in November. In that time, the Swans have conceded 18 goals and both managers who oversaw the respective teams have since been sacked.

Both sides in poor form

The visitors have been on an appalling run this season and currently sit bottom of the Premier League table on twelve points. Since selling club stalwart and long-serving centre-back Ashley Williams in the summer, Swansea have conceded goals for fun, including ten in their last three games.

At the time of writing, they remain without a manager following the sacking of Bob Bradley before the turn of the new year, although it seems likely that former Derby County boss and current Bayern Munich assistant Paul Clement will be the American’s successor. The Swansea faithful will hope that the Englishman’s experience working under Carlo Ancelotti at big clubs such as Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern will guide them to safety.

Palace, meanwhile, aren’t quite shipping goals at the same rate as the Swans but continue to struggle to win games. December was an important month for the Eagles as they picked up five crucial points but remain seventeenth, a place outside the relegation zone.

The Eagles began the new year with a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal, although most will feel that it probably should have been more. Allardyce’s side spent 75 minutes of the game camped outside their own penalty area as a wonderful Olivier Giroud goal, followed by an Alex Iwobi header, gave the North Londoners the victory.

The game will be Swansea’s first game of the new year having lost 3-0 to Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve. The game involved some criminal defending from the Swans as very simple goals scored by Benik Afobe, Ryan Fraser and Josh King ensured the comfortable victory for the Cherries.

Key players

Wilfried Zaha has been the hosts’ best player this season and he caused plenty of problems for the Swansea defence in the reverse fixture, including scoring the opening goal of the nine-goal thriller. However, it will be Zaha’s last game for the Eagles before he travels to the Africa Cup of Nations to represent Ivory Coast, having switched international allegiance from England.

Gylfi Sigurdsson will be expected to line-up for the visitors and he has an excellent record against Palace, scoring twice in as many meetings between the sides. He is, however, yet to score for the Swans at Selhurst Park.

Team news

Palace were buoyed by the return of James Tomkins at Arsenal and could have more players returning to fitness in time for the Swansea game with midfielder James McArthur and Joe Ledley expected to be named in the squad. Defender Zeki Fryers suffered an injury in the warm-up at the Emirates and could miss this game. Winger Sullay Kaikai has been recalled from his loan spell at Championship side Brentford and could earn a place on the bench.

Jefferson Montero remains Swansea’s only injured absentee with a hamstring injury, although the Swans will also be without Jordi Amat who is suspended after accumulating five yellow cards.