Palace vs Burnley Preview: A huge game for both sides towards the foot of the
Expect a physical battle on Saturday afternoon (photo: Getty Images)

Crystal Palace vs Burnley Preview: A huge game for both sides towards the foot of the table

The two clubs are just one point above the bottom three.

Chris Lincoln

Both sides will see this contest as an opportunity to grab a crucial three points and push up the table but they will also have a lingering fear that a defeat could plummet them into the drop zone.

Saturday afternoon’s clash between Crystal Palace and Burnley is a massive game for both teams ahead of the busy winter schedule.

Terrible run of form

Not only are the two clubs stranded on just nine points from their first 13 games but they have also only picked up just two from their last six. Palace have failed to win at home thus far, whilst Burnley have just the solitary victory on their travels.

Goals have been a huge problem for the hosts, amassing just eight goals from their opening set of fixtures. Their reliance on Wilf Zaha becomes even more apparent when you consider that he is the only Eagles player to score more than one goal from open play.

Whilst hardly prolific, Burnley have found scoring goals slightly easier than their opponents but they have conceded 27 goals in 13 games at a rate of more than two per game.

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Expect a close contest...

There is very little to choose between the sides in their recent Premier League games. They shared a 1-0 win apiece last season but the Clarets did do the double in 2016-17 campaign. This included a crucial victory at Selhurst Park which accounted for their first away win of the season at the 18th attempt and all but ensured their safety that season. They will be hoping for a similar story here.

However, that is the only time Burnley have defeated Crystal Palace on their travels in the last 12 meetings between the sides. They have also kept six clean sheets during the previous eight of those contests.

That said, the Eagles have failed to score in five of their last six home matches and lots of goals are unlikely to be on the menu. There have been two goals or less by either side in six of the last seven matches at Selhurst Park and the same statistic is relevant for meetings between Palace and Burnley in South London.

...but very few goals

Roy Hodgson is unable to call on any of his target men with Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham both absent – although neither player has been prolific in recent months. Defender Scott Dann is also a doubt.

Sean Dyche will be hoping to call upon the services of Johann Berg Gudmundsson to offer some creativity and width against their opponents’ tight midfield in the middle of the park. The Iceland international has created four goals this season and was ill for the defeat against Newcastle on Monday.

James Tarkowski and Ben Gibson are both hoping to be available to bolster a leaky defence after playing in a friendly on Tuesday but Stephen Ward and Nick Pope are definitely sidelined.