Aston Villa vs Crystal Palace preview: How to watch, kick-off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
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Bonnie is nothing without Clyde, and neither is Boxing Day without football. Roy Hodgson will manage his 341st game in the Premier League, which sees him overtake Rafael Benitez and climb into the top 10 for most managerial appearances in the competition. 

After failing to narrow the yawning chasm last time out, Hodgson will hope to rectify the mistakes made at home to Liverpool. Meanwhile, Aston Villa are looking to take the positives from their 3-0 away win against West Bromwich Albion and inject it into Boxing Day.

Dean Smith's Villa appear starkly different from last season, as they sit in 9th in the Premier League. The Eagles face a difficult task in beating a team that has defeated them in two of the last three meetings between the sides. 

A win for the home side could see them enter the top five. Conversely, a Palace win, due to their significantly damaged goal difference, could see them climb a maximum of two places to 11th. Nevertheless, important points for a deflated side. 

  • Team News

Villa will be without Wesley Moraes and Trezeguet on Saturday, but they could see a timely return to the fold for Ross Barkley and Ezri Konza.

The Chelsea loanee, Barkley, was instrumental in Dean Smith's fast start to the season and may be crucial against Palace.

The rest of the squad remain fit to feature.

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As for Palace, Christian Benteke was suspended for the clash against the champions, but the Belgian is eligible to start up front with Wilfried Zaha this time out. 

James Tomkins continued his recovery with an appearance for the under-23s on Monday and may feature in place of the injured Gary Cahill at the weekend. 

After such a heavy defeat, it wouldn't be a surprise to see a hugely changed line-up, with Jairo Riedewald and Andros Townsend pushing for a starting spot amidst the rotation.

Connor Wickham, Wayne Hennessey, Martin Kelly, Nathan Ferguson, and Mamadou Sakho remain unfit for selection.

  • Ones to watch

Aston Villa: Jack Grealish

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Scoring five and assisting six in twelve appearances, Jack Grealish is an early candidate for Player of the Season in the Premier League. The midfield Maestro has been untouchable this season.

Everything is created through Grealish for Villa; his notorious reputation in winning free kicks high upfield could pose a threat for Palace, who will be wary of Tyrone Mings' aerial ultimatum.

In a season where the Eagles have been uncharacteristically weak in defence, it will be Villa's attack that will pose the main problem for Hodgson's team.

Crystal Palace: Christian Benteke

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Once a Villain, now an Eagle, Christian Benteke was missed last time out for Hodgson. The lack of strength in the final third was noticeable against Liverpool. 

Though Eberechi Eze and Zaha have been creatively immense this season so far, Benteke adds variety in the Palace attack and infuses a new dimension, which will be vital at Villa Park on Saturday. 

If Benteke continues to show his confidence he had during his Villa days, the claret and blue defence will find it tough to keep the Belgian at bay.

  • Predicted Lineups

Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Cash, Hause, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Luiz; El Ghazi, Grealish, Traore; Watkins

Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Guaita; Clyne, Tomkins, Cahill, Van Aanholt; Milivojevic, Riedewald, McArthur; Eze, Benteke, Zaha

  • Previous Meeting

The last time these two clubs met, a Trezeguet brace on either side of halftime crushed Crystal Palace as Villa came out victors 2-0.

A late benteke red card topped an awful display from the Eagles. The result of the match ended a 10 match winless streak for the home side.

Palace were also struggling though, with their worst run since September 2017, where they struggled an 8 match winless streak themselves. 

  • Where to watch

The game will be broadcasted live on BBC Sport for the 15:00 PM GMT kick-off time on Saturday. 

There will also be a live blog on VAVEL that you can opt to follow along for minute to minute updates on the game.

  • Prediction

After such a calamitous performance against the champions, Palace will surely opt for a conservative approach against in-form Aston Villa.

Though Villa are flying high, this has a draw written all over it. Palace's attacking impetus will have a big say on the result of the game. The last thing Hodgson will want is another defeat, hence the prediction of a score draw.

Christian Benteke will be eager to impress on his return to the club that made him. It wouldn't be a shock if the Belgian gets himself on the scoresheet, but the trio of Watkins, Grealish and Traore, will also pose its threat against Palace's poor defence.

Prediction: Aston Villa 2-2 Crystal Palace

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