Crystal Palace welcome Southampton to Selhurst Park aiming to build on last weekend’s morale-boosting point at Swansea City.
The Eagles have lost just twice at Selhurst Park since Tony Pulis took charge and they will be looking to keep that impressive home form going this weekend against the Saints.
The southerners eased to a 2-0 victory when the teams met at St Mary’s Stadium back in September last year – but the Eagles are a different animal now under the leadership of Pulis.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men come into the game on a bit of a slump in form, having lost their last three games in all competitions.
That run has seen them fall of the pace in the race for a Europa League spot after defeats to West Ham and Liverpool, while they were also dumped out of the FA Cup by Sunderland.
The south coast outfit have 13 first team players returning from midweek international duty and Tony Pulis’ men will no doubt be looking to take advantage of any tiredness among the Southampton ranks and register a victory which would take them onto 30 points with 10 Premier League games to play.
Palace: Top scorer Marouane Chamakh will be assessed on Friday after picking up a hamstring injury against Swansea last weekend. The complaint forced the Moroccan out of international duty on Wednesday, but the striker will be hoping for a swift return to club action.
Joe Ledley and Kagisho Dikgacoi also withdrew from the Wales and South Africa squads respectively in midweek and face late fitness tests ahead of tomorrow’s game.
Ledley was forced out of the Welsh party with a hip complaint, while Dikgacoi has been suffering with spasms in his back.
Glenn Murray is pushing for his second start of the campaign after scoring his maiden Premier League goal from the substitutes’ bench against Swansea, while Jason Puncheon is eligible to play against his former club after making his loan move permanent in January.
Southampton: All of Saints’ international players have returned to the training ground unscathed following their midweek exploits.
Victor Wanyama returned to first team action as a substitute in last weekend’s 3-0 defeat to Liverpool and is pushing to regain his place in the starting XI on Saturday.
Dejan Lovren and Gaston Ramirez also played their parts in that loss to the Reds following their recoveries from injury and should both be named in Mauricio Pochettino’s squad again this weekend.
Referee: Howard Webb
Assistants: S Ledger and R West.
Fourth Official: R East
|Palace wins||Draw||So'ton wins|
LAST MEETING AT SELHURST
The last four meetings between these two teams have ended 2-0 – and it was Southampton who were on the right end of that scoreline the last time they faced off in SE25.
Current Palace players Julian Speroni, Paddy McCarthy, Dean Moxey, Kagisho Dikgacoi and Stuart O’Keefe were all named in the starting line-up for the Championship fixture in April 2012.
After a tight opening to the game, it was the promotion-chasing Saints who took the lead on 39 minutes, when Rickie Lambert headed home a cross from former Eagle Danny Butterfield.
And it was Southampton’s number 7 who wrapped up the victory just before the hour mark, slamming home his 30th goal of the season from 20 yards.
The result was Palace’s third straight league defeat as Southampton went three points clear at the top of the table en route to promotion.
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