Each have avoided relegation by the smallest of margins in previous seasons and have begun the latest campaign poorly. The Swans’ draw at Southampton on the opening day is the only point either side have collected in their opening two games. However, midweek Carabao Cup victories for both may have provided a welcomed confidence boost just at the right time.
Their respective campaigns somewhat mirrored each other last season. The Eagles begun with Alan Pardew as manager but he was sacked in December with the club lurking in the relegation zone. Sam Allardyce replaced him and eventually guided them to a respectable fourteenth-placed finish, with victories against Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool proving vital.
The Swans went one better in the managers tally, going through three in 2016/17. Francesco Guidolin lasted only until October, before American Bob Bradley suffered the same fate in December with the South Wales club in a similar predicament to tomorrow’s opponents. Former Bayern Munich and Real Madrid assistant Paul Clement was appointed in January and just about pulled Swansea to safety.
Neither side have started the new season particularly well, despite playing tough opponents in the previous match week. Palace begun with a shocking 3-0 defeat to newly promoted Huddersfield Town before going down by a single goal at Liverpool last Saturday. The South Londoners have struggled to adapt to the ‘total football’ style adopted by new boss Frank de Boer and his new 3-4-3 formation.
Meanwhile, Swansea’s goalless draw against the Saints offered a source of optimism on the opening weekend. Although they were then blown away by Manchester United at the Liberty Stadium last weekend, conceding four without reply against the Red Devils – including three across a ten minute spell late in the second period.
Head to head
Despite last season’s woes, both meetings between the two sides offered plenty of entertainment. A remarkable 5-4 Swansea victory in November was one of the games of the season, with Palace coming back from 3-1 down to be leading 4-3, only to concede twice in stoppage time. The teams then met once again in January and Angel Rangel scored a late winner in a 2-1 Swans win, although Wilfried Zaha’s acrobatics to score earlier in the game stole the post-match headlines.
In total, Swansea have won 12 of the 27 meetings between the pair, with Palace victorious on just five occasions. The two sides met for the first time in December 1920 but didn’t play each other again until 1947, while there were also long breaks between 1948 to 1980 and 1984 to 2008.
A groin injury keeps the impressive Ruben Loftus-Cheek out of the fixture at Selhurst Park, while fellow Palace key man Zaha is out with a knee injury. Palace will be buoyed, however, by the return of Jairo Riedewald to the back line, having missed the last two games with a groin injury. Connor Wickham is the club’s only long-term absentee.
Meanwhile, the game could come too soon for Swansea forward Fernando Llorente who broke his arm during the close season. Kyle Bartley and Nathan Dyer remain absent. New £16 million signing Sam Clucas is in line to feature.