Crystal Palace vs Huddersfield Town Preview: Key Battle, Team News, Prediction & More
Crystal Palace and Huddersfield Town square off in their opening game of the 2017/18 Premier League season.
Frank de Boer will be targeting his first 3 points of the season from this fixture, as he looks to implement his philosophy onto a Crystal Palace side that secured their Premier League safety on the penultimate weekend of the 2016/17 Premier League season.
David Wagner will be hoping his Huddersfield Town side can leave Selhurst Park with at least a point, in a game that will go down in history as Huddersfield's first match in the Premier League.
Here's everything you need to know ahead of the clash at Selhurst Park:
Jason Puncheon vs Aaron Mooy
Frank de Boer made a big call when taking the armband away from Scott Dann and appointing Jason Puncheon as his club captain during Palace's pre-season tour. Frank de Boer has also entrusted Puncheon to set the tempo of his side's play from the heart of Palace's midfield in a 3-4-3 system.
Jason Puncheon having a strong first game of the season will be important in cementing his position as a leader of the team as well as allowing the Eagles to implement Frank de Boer philosophy onto the pitch.
Aaron Mooy is equally important in the way Huddersfield Town play, the Australian international dictates the speed of the Terriers play also from the centre of midfield. Mooy at times looked too good for the Championship last season and this will be his first chance at demonstrating why he belongs at Premier League level.
Whichever central midfielder wins the battle between Jason Puncheon and Aaron Mooy will be in a better position to dictate their team's play whilst stopping their opponent from doing so. This will be a pivotal individual encounter that may determine the end result of the match.
Crystal Palace will be without long term absentees Connor Wickham, who is expected to be back in January and Pape Souare, who was injured in a horrific car crash that ruled him out of the entire 2016/17 season. The former Senegalese international Souare did join in first team training this week but is not expected to feature anytime soon.
Huddersfield are without injured pair Jonathan Hogg and Nahki Wells. Wells has been linked with a move away from Huddersfield due to the influx of new strikers at the club but he is currently sidelined due to injury.
Potential Crystal Palace Lineup: Hennessey; Milivojevic, Dann, Riedewald, Townsend; Loftus-Cheek, Puncheon, Van Aanholt, Zaha, Benteke, Lee
Potential Huddersfield Town Lineup: Jonas Loessl; Chris Loewe, Christopher Schindler, Michael Hefele, Tommy Smith, Aaron Mooy, Philip Billing, Rajiv van La Parra, Tom Ince, Elias Kachunga, Steve Mounie
The Crystal Palace players will be looking to make a good first impression under Frank de Boer in what will be their first competitive match under the Dutchman.
David Wagner's much changed Huddersfield squad will take time to gel and get used to an entirely different league, in what will be the club's first Premier League game in history.
Although some of the Crystal Palace players may not feel total comfortable in de Boer's 3-4-3 formation, the Eagles have been playing it throughout their entire pre-season. That fact that this fixture is at Selhurst Park, where the support for the home side is notoriously strong suggests Crystal Palace will have enough to edge the Premier League new-boys.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-1 Huddersfield Town