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Match Previews

The Palace Preview: Southampton

30 January 2019

Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace travel to the south coast tonight looking to continue their recent run of form against a newly invigorated Southampton side.

The Saints have enjoyed a remarkable change in fortune since the arrival of manager Ralph Hasenhüttl, who, having joined in early December, has commanded Southampton to winning four league matches from eight games, drawing once and losing the other three. In that time, however, Southampton beat Arsenal and Everton and notched up a draw with Chelsea.

Similarly, the Eagles have won three of their five overall matches in 2019 and have overcome the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in recent weeks.

Having fallen from the FA Cup at the hands of Frank Lampard's Derby Country, Southampton won't have played a match in 11 days, whereas Palace played on Sunday and fielded a team that included several players who are likely to start tonight.

Palace's history with Southampton will not inspire much hope for south Londoners as the Eagles have lost eight of their last 10 visits to the south coast. More encouragingly, however, their form on the road has been remarkable and it is away from home where Hodgson's men seem to come into their own.

Scoring 10 times from their past four away games, Palace have won twice and lost twice over that stretch of time; though one loss came as the red and blues narrowly fell to Liverpool having scored three times against a typically watertight defence.

Palace's ability to counter with great effect is likely to be the cause behind this and, given that the Saints have kept just one clean sheet in the league since the end of October, Palace may again be able to use their pace and ability on the break to secure three points from this fixture.

Indeed, Southampton have conceded eight goals more than Palace so far and it is this which forces their goal difference to keep them below their London opposition despite having acquired the same total of points.

A win today would be key to either side, as it would put greater distance between them and 18th placed Cardiff City who currently sit on 19 points.

In terms of danger-men, Palace fans will want to look out for James Ward-Prowse, who has scored in each of Southampton's last two matches.

Both Eagles and Saints fans will be relieved to have seen Arsenal beat the aforementioned Cardiff last night, as the result means that the Bluebirds stay three points behind both sides, despite coming close to staging a last-minute comeback against the Gunners.

Tactical overview

As with many teams, Southampton typically employ attacking full-backs which tends to lead to their backline acting as quintet out of possession but as a trio of centre-backs when in possession going forwards.

Hasenhüttl, dubbed the 'Alpine Klopp', encourages his teams to press with speed and intensity and this is likely to be the default approach tonight. However, with Palace often playing with less of the ball lately, their relentless pressing may not be as effective. Further, the Austrian seems to favour what's known as the 'outside press' - a system which forces the opposition to play the ball out wide where the pressing side can close the space with greater ease.

Facing the likes of Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha, though, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Patrick van Aanholt supporting them on the flanks, this approach is unlikely to be enforced against the Eagles who have strength in their width.

Your matchday stat and ref

Since the start of last season Southampton have drawn more games than any other Premier League side, with their total of 22 draws accounting for 15% of the total in the division in that time (22/143).

Refereeing this clash will be Andre Marriner, who covered Palace's win over Manchester City recently. Joining him will be assistants Simon Long and Sian Massey-Ellis. Lee Probert will act as fourth official.

Team news

Hodgson has confirmed that Palace have a largely fit squad to face Southampton, with shot-stoppers Wayne Hennessey and Vicente Guaita having returned from injury. Newly re-signed Bakary Sako also adds to the Eagles' arsenal and may well feature tomorrow night.

First Team

Returning Players Give Hodgson Options

29 January 2019

For Southampton, injury problems are more plentiful. Ryan Bertrand is very unlikely to be in contention to play and the same goes for Mario Lemina and Charlie Austin. Kayne Ramsay will be assessed pre-match but Matt Targett is set to return after being sidelined by a knee injury.

Live coverage

This game is not being shown live on TV in the United Kingdom, however you can listen to full commentary of it for just £1.49 via Palace Audio. Click here to find out more.

For fans in the US, the match will be shown on NBC Sports Gold and for all fans living abroad elsewhere, check out our Worldwide TV listings to see where you can enjoy the game.

Alternatively, if living abroad, why not find out if there is an Official Supporters' Club meeting near you?


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