Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace host high-flying Championship side Ipswich Town in the second round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening.
The Eagles have lost both of their top-flight fixtures so far while the Trotters have won their opening five games in all competitions – including a 2-0 victory against Luton Town in the first round.
Contrast in form
Despite their Premier League advantage, Frank de Boer’s side will not be expecting an easy victory against their second-tier opponents. Mick McCarthy’s side were tipped to struggle before the start of the season but currently sit second in the Championship behind Cardiff City on goal difference. A 100 per-cent record from their opening four league games gives the Suffolk-based club the edge going into the game.
Meanwhile, Palace have started the season poorly. A dismal 3-0 defeat to new promoted Huddersfield Town on the opening day was followed by a narrow 1-0 loss at Liverpool at the weekend. De Boer is already under pressure to turn results around and his new style of calculated, possession-based football has received mixed reactions from Palace fans.
The Eagles’ home record has been scrutinised ever since they were promoted in 2013, but they do have an excellent domestic cup record at Selhurst Park. The South Londoners are unbeaten at home in cup competitions since a February 2015 defeat to Liverpool on the FA Cup.
Head to head
The two sides have not met since Palace’s promotion at the end of the 2012/13 season, which saw big home victories for each side. Palace’s first game under Ian Holloway was a 5-0 mauling of Ipswich, although the Trotters earned revenge later in the season with a 3-0 victory at Portman Road which stalled the South Londoners’ promotion bid.
Overall, Ipswich have won 32 of the 82 meetings, the first of which was in 1939. Palace have beaten the Trotters 32 times, with the scores being level on 24 occasions.
Both managers are expected to field weaker teams as they prioritise league form. De Boer was keen to give opportunities to Palace’s young players during pre-season, and could give professional debuts to the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Nya Kirby, Michael Phillips and Jason Lokilo. Fellow youngster Sullay Kaikai could also be involved having featured as a substitute at Anfield on Saturday. Yohan Cabaye and James McArthur have returned to full fitness and could start, although Pape Souare and Wilfried Zaha are still a few weeks away from a return. Connor Wickham is the club’s only long-term absentee.
McCarthy has confirmed that he will make 11 changes from the side that beat Brentford on Saturday. 18-year-old Flynn Downes and 17-year-old Tristan Nydam are among those confirmed as starters by the Ipswich boss.
The winner of the game will find out their fourth round opponents in the ludicrously timed 4:15am draw on Thursday morning.