AFC Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace preview: Both sides struggling for form

AFC Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace preview: Both sides struggling for form

Neither team has fared well in recent months and will both be desperate for all three points from this game

Sam Smith

Crystal Palace travel to AFC Bournemouth still looking for their first Premier League victory under Sam Allardyce.

The former England manager replaced the sacked Alan Pardew just before Christmas but his only win to date came against third-tier Bolton Wanderers in an FA Cup replay.

The Cherries have also been on a poor run of their own having failed to win since New Year’s Day.

Both struggling

The hosts have won just twice since their heroic 4-3 win against Liverpool at the beginning on 4 December. Victories against fellow strugglers Leicester City and Swansea City have coincided with some disappointing defeats, most notably against Hull City and in the FA Cup against League One Millwall.

Eddie Howe’s side were forced to rely on a Benik Afobe strike eight minutes from time in their last outing against Watford. Howe now finds himself under pressure and a comfortable ten-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone could soon decrease.

Meanwhile, poor form has almost become a permanent fixture for Palace. Allardyce has been desperate to turn their predicament around and deals for defenders Jeffrey Schlupp and Patrick van Aanholt have already been completed to improve the defensive situation. Further deals for Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho and Serbian midfielder Luka Milivojevic could be completed before Tuesday’s deadline.

The Eagles have not won in the top-flight since a 3-0 success against Southampton in early December which is their only victory since 24 September. The South Londoners dropped into the relegation zone for the first time nine days ago, following a controversial defeat at home to Everton. They will hope that their transfer dealings will pull them out of trouble.

Team news

Bournemouth defender Simon Francis is available again following his three-match ban. The centre-back received a red card in his side’s 3-3 draw against Arsenal, a game that included a memorable comeback from the Gunners. Winger Max Gradel has returned from the Africa Cup of Nations, where he competed alongside Palace forwarded Wilfried Zaha. Gradel hardly featured for Bournemouth before jetting off to the competition in Gabon and it is unlikely that he will play any part in the upcoming game.

Zaha is expected to go straight back into Palace’s team, while van Aanholt could make his full debut at left-back. Schlupp suffered a hamstring injury in the FA Cup defeat against Manchester City and is expected to miss the next two weeks. Schlupp joins Connor Wickham, Pape Souare and Steve Mandanda on the treatment table.