Aston Villa-Crystal Palace Preview
Crystal Palace and Aston Villa both aim to bounce back from defeats last week when the clubs square off on Saturday at Selhurst Park.
Buoyed by the £10 million signing of former Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United midfielder Yohan Cabaye, Alan Pardew's Eagles got off to a fantastic start as Cabaye found the back of the net in a 3-1 opening-weekend win over Norwich City.
The club failed to sustain that momentum in last week's London derby against Arsenal, losing 2-1 after conceding Damien Delany's own goal on 55 minutes. Joel Ward had given Crystal Palace hopes for a point by canceling out Olivier Giroud's marker, but despite the loss, splitting their first two contests gives the Eagles their best Premier League start since 1997.
The Eagles spent plenty of time in the attacking third, putting 11 of their 22 shot attempts on frame, but they will also have to do a better job on defence. Palace have conceded 37 shots in their first two matches, and only Sunderland (38) has allowed more.
"We've got to win at home, every home game I'll be thinking that this year," Pardew said. "We lost to Arsenal. That was a cracking game, it was a great day for the club. I thought we played well, I thought our stadium and our fans were superb, but we got beat by the better team. We can cope with that if our levels are as high as they were, because they were really high against Arsenal in a number of key areas."
Aston Villa (1-0-1) are coming off a 1-0 defeat against Manchester United last week at Villa Park as Tim Sherwood's men were done in by a 29th-minute strike by Adnan Januzaj.
The Villans were largely ineffective in the attacking third against United, mustering just five shots overall and only one on target.
Villa also won just three corner kicks and have completed only three of 29 crosses through the opening two fixtures. The club has also been sloppy in the tackle, having been booked six times in two matches. Only Southampton and newly promoted Bournemouth have picked up more cards through two games.
The West Midlands club got some good news on the personnel front during the week as midfielder Leandro Bacuna signed a new five-year extension, a welcome development after watching former stars Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph depart for greener pastures.
"I am absolutely thrilled to sign a new contract and continue my time at Aston Villa," Bacuna said. "I love it here and am really excited about my future in claret and blue under the manager. I feel I can really develop here and show my worth to the team and I think there are bright times ahead for us all."
Villa are set to receive another boost as Jack Grealish looks ready to return after missing the preseason with a hamstring injury.
"Jack came on to the scene last season," Sherwood said. "He's still got a lot to do. He's still only young in his development. But we are sure he's going to be a top player. He showed at the back end of last season that he has a real talent. And it's something we have missed in the team in the early games."
Villa took four points off Palace last season. The Villans won 1-0 at Selhurst Park in December with Benteke scoring in the 32nd minute. The sides played out a scoreless draw on New Year's Day at Villa Park.