Southampton vs Crystal Palace Preview: Saints look to turn form around at home to rejuvenated Eagles

Southampton entertain fellow Premier League relegation rivals Crystal Palace this week and both are eager to start 2018 in a positive manner.

Southampton vs Crystal Palace Preview: Saints look to turn form around at home to rejuvenated Eagles
(Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

Mauricio Pellegrino of Southampton and Crystal Palace's Roy Hodgson begin the New Year in very differing spirits as the two managers meet each other in what may turn out to be a relegation dog fight. 

The hosts managed to hold Manchester United to a goalless draw at Old Trafford last weekend, but that came on the back of a thrashing at Tottenham Hotspur and a horrid run of form. 

The Saints are yet to win since they beat Everton at St. Mary's towards the end of November, although the team have had draws with Arsenal, AFC Bournemouth and Huddersfield Town

As for Crystal Palace, they have had a day's less rest than their opposition having entertained the division's runaway leaders Manchester City on Sunday, going on to draw 0-0. However, they missed the opportunity to grab a shock three points after missing a spot-kick in added time. 

Both outfits still sit worryingly above the drop zone and either dug-out will be hoping to steer clear of an end-of-season scrap by racking the victory in this match. 

​Injuries becoming a concern

​Southampton and Palace are suffering detrimental injury problems which may very well affect the outcome of their campaigns, as key players suffer devastating periods on the side-lines. 

The Saints will be without Charlie Austin - the club's top goal scorer this season - who remains in the treatment room. Mauricio Pellegrino confirmed it's likely the 28 year-old could be out of action for the next couple of months. 

It seems that right-back Cédric Soares is also going to miss the visit of the Eagles but Ryan Bertrand is "touch and go", facing a late fitness test to potentially be included in the match day squad.

Roy Hodgson suffered two major injuries in the home draw to City on Sunday. Jason Puncheon and Scott Dann were both forced off, which adds to the already crowded treatment room, with Mamadou Sakho and Joel Ward also on the sidelines - meaning Palace are becoming increasingly sparse in defensive options. 

 

Hodgson unsatisfied with Premier League scheduling

​The Eagles have had a more hectic festive schedule than most of their counterparts. The south-east London club are forced to play out three top-flight outings in six days, meaning Hodgson has had to alter his squad to rest a number of key players and the former England boss isn't pleased with his side's fixture list.

He stated following the draw to City: “The last element is being aware that this is a nice moment that we can savour for a brief period because we have to go to Southampton with one day’s rest with a lot of injuries'.'

McCarthy faces old friends

​Southampton shot-stopper Alex McCarthy, who began the weekend's game at Manchester United, is likely to continue between the sticks and, if so, will play against his former employer having been a Palace player for one season prior to joining the Saints. 

The 28 year-old says he is very much looking forward to meeting some old team-mates; “I played against them in the cup a couple of seasons ago, but to beat them in the Premier League would be nice and obviously we need the three points.”

 

​Saints on top in recent encounters

These two clubs have met on two occasions in the last 12 months, both in the Premier League. Southampton last travelled to Selhurst Park in September when a single Steven Davis goal was enough for the Saints to travel back to the south coast with all three points. 

However, the last time the Eagles came to St. Mary's Christian Benteke opened the scoring for the visitors but that goal was cancelled out by Nathan Redmond, Maya Yoshida and James Ward-Prowse as Southampton walked away with a 3-1 triumph to their name.

The two outfits have met on a total of 105 occasions and Tuesday's hosts just about top the head-to-head record at 45 wins to Crystal Palace's 38.