Two sides in terrible form will face off in search of all-important win, as safety remains the priority for Southampton and Crystal Palace.
Southampton have four games left in their season, and it may take one victory to ensure safety in the Premier League. The Saints are not in any real danger of going down, but a few bad results between now and the end of the season could drag them into unwanted territory.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side were two goals behind Brighton & Hove Albion in the last fixture, but a superb second-half display from skipper James Ward-Prowse ensured Southampton earned a point. The draw took them to the magical ’40 points’ figure, although there may be one more line to cross before things are secure.
Southampton are 11 points ahead of 18th-placed Everton, and they have come to this situation at the back of just a single victory in their last eight Premier League games. There’s still a huge possibility of Hasenhuttl steering the Saints into a top-half finish for the first time since the 2016/17 season, with Leicester City and Newcastle United in touching distance of the Saints.
Meanwhile, Crystal Palace travel to St Mary’s with the hope of getting a victory after a terrible run of form. The Eagles were on fire at the start of the month with a stunning victory at home against Arsenal. However, their form has dipped alarmingly to ensure they have dropped several places and come close to the relegation fight.
Like the Saints, the Eagles are not in imminent danger of dragging their name into the relegation dogfight, but a few more bad results could put them in a precarious position. Patrick Vieira’s men are two points behind Southampton and nine ahead of 18th-placed Everton, and the Crystal Palace manager will be seeking one good victory as they have the cushion of five more games to be played.
Crystal Palace came close to winning at home when they hosted Leeds United, but Patrick Vieira’s charges failed to break down a resilient side coached by Jesse Marsch. However, the Frenchman will be hoping for a better result at St. Mary’s and steer his side into a dignified position on the table, away from the danger zone.
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Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed he has a fully fit squad available for the Crystal Palace clash, although Southampton will be without Valentino Livramento. The young right-back suffered an ACL injury against Brighton & Hove Albion, which effectively rules him out of action for about 8-9 months.
The right-back’s absence will allow Hasenhuttl to shuffle his options in the full-back positions. Kyle Walker-Peters could come back on the right flank, while there could be competition between Romain Perraud and Yan Valery for the left-hand side. The former may get the nod unless the latter provides the manager with a massive selection headache.
Alex McCarthy is making ample progress with his fitness and will remain on the sidelines, meaning Fraser Forster continues in goal for Southampton. Hasenhuttl could retain the 4-4-2 shape of his team, with Ward-Prowse and Oriol Romeu firmly settled in central midfield.
Stuart Armstrong and Mohamed Elyounoussi could occupy the wide roles, while there could be a change in the front two. Shane Long earned a rare start against Brighton, although Hasenhuttl will look to bring Armando Broja back into the side and partner him with Che Adams in a front two.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Forster; Walker-Peters, Salisu, Bednarek, Perraud; Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Elyounoussi; Broja, Adams
Patrick Vieira could make slight changes to the side that played out a draw against Leeds United in the previous game. One of the most important shuffles could be at left-back, with the Crystal Palace manager hoping to have Tyrick Mitchell at his disposal. The English international was absent through injury, which saw Joel Ward take his spot.
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With Mitchell likely to be back in action and Ward fully fit, the latter could retake his place at right-back. Nathaniel Clyne could be out of the starting lineup after a few months of deputising for Ward. Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen could retain their places at the heart of the Crystal Palace defence, with Vicente Guaita the preferred choice between the posts.
James McArthur’s man of the match performance against Leeds United could prompt Vieira to keep the veteran midfielder in the side ahead of Cheikhou Kouyate, with Conor Gallagher and Jeffrey Schlupp on either side of him.
Michael Olise could come back into the starting lineup and replace Jordan Ayew on the right side of the attack. Jean-Philippe Mateta will keep his place at the tip of the attack, while there will be no changes to Wilfried Zaha’s role in the side, with the attacker operating from the left-hand side.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Guaita; Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Gallagher, Kouyate, Schlupp; Olise, Mateta, Zaha
- Southampton have one victory from their last eight Premier League games.
- Southampton are winless in their last four Premier League games.
- Southampton have kept one clean sheet in the Premier League since early March.
- Crystal Palace have won only three times away from home this season.
- Crystal Palace have taken only one point from their last three Premier League games.
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Zaha has had a good spell since his return from the Africa Cup of Nations, although Crystal Palace’s recent performances have been disappointing. Zaha starred in the victory over Arsenal earlier this month, and since then, Crystal Palace have endured a difficult period in the Premier League.
They should have secured a victory over Leeds United in the previous encounter, and Zaha will be vital to ensuring they collect three points at Southampton. Patrick Vieira has placed his trust in the attacker and will be looking forward to the winger being the attacking leader of his side against Southampton in a bid to arrest their slump and move as far away from the relegation zone as possible.
Southampton 1-1 Crystal Palace
Both teamup s are vying for the three points on offer and move places the Premier League table. Their recent performances have put Southampton and Crystal Palace closer to the danger zone than they would have liked, and they now have the responsibility to steer clear of that area on the table.
Considering the form both teams have been in, it is difficult to see either side secure a victory, and this game has the hallmarks of a stubborn draw. There is an expectation that Southampton and Crystal Palace would score at some stage of the game, but it is hard to see this be a prolific encounter.