Two teams locked together on 34 points clash at Selhurst Park on Saturday when Crystal Palace entertain Aston Villa.
The Eagles come into the game high on confidence after recording back-to-back victories over Chelsea and Cardiff City. Another win against the Villans this weekend would give Palace three consecutive top flight victories for the first time since November 1994.
Tony Pulis’ men have been in near flawless form at home since the Welshman took charge in November, losing just three of the 10 games the former Stoke City boss has overseen in SE25.
That record will be given a stern examination this weekend though, as the Eagles face one of the Premier League better travellers.
Villa have amassed 17 points from their 15 away games so far this season – the best return of any team in the bottom half of the table.
Paul Lambert’s men will need to put a run of three straight defeats behind them though, as they aim to avoid being sucked back into a relegation dogfight.
The victors on Saturday would put themselves on the brink of securing their Barclays Premier League status for another season.
Crystal Palace: The hosts are at full strength ahead of this weekend’s game, with Joe Ledley recovering from the knock that forced him off injured in the 3-0 win over Cardiff City last time out.
Striker Dwight Gayle is pushing for a start after scoring five goals in the under-21 side’s 6-0 thumping of Brentford on Tuesday, while fellow frontman Marouane Chamakh is also in contention for a recall, having been involved in two of Palace’s goals from the substitutes’ bench last weekend.
Aston Villa: Christian Benteke is expected to be out until December after rupturing his Achilles tendon, in what is a huge blow to Villa’s survival hopes.
With Libor Kozak also out with a broken leg, on-loan Wigan Athletic man Grant Holt is expected to start up front this weekend.
Charles N’Zogbia is another long-term absentee having not featured for the Villans all season, but Gabriel Agbonlahor has been declared fit to play on Saturday having recovered from an illness.
Fabian Delph and Karim El Ahmady will also bolster Paul Lambert’s midfield options after recovering from achilles and thigh problems respectively.
Jores Okore is recovering well from his anterior cruciate ligament injury, but is not expected to return to first-team action until the end of the month.
Referee: Howard Webb.
Assistant referees: S Ledger and D Bryan.
Fourth Official: Chris Foy.
|Palace wins||Draws||Villa wins|
LAST MEETING AT SELHURST PARK
The last time these two sides met in SE25 was in the fifth round of the 2010 FA Cup, when Palace were still a Championship side.
Johannes Ertl gave the Eagles a 24th minute lead, but James Collins brought the visitors level 10 minutes before the break.
Darren Ambrose looked to have earned Palace an upset against their Premier League opponents after finding the net with a stunning free-kick after 70 minutes, but Stiliyan Petrov popped up with the equaliser three minutes from time to hand Villa a replay.
Their Premier League class told back at Villa Park, as two late John Carew penalties saw the Midlands outfit progress to the next round with a 3-1 success.
Supporters travelling to the game by car on Saturday are reminded that Spring Lane is closed to traffic.
Tickets for this match are sold out and so will not be available from the box office on the day of the match.
Crystal Palace: 11/10
Aston Villa: 11/4
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