Crystal Palace vs Southampton Preview: Classic Encounter, Team News, Key Battle & More
Crystal Palace and Southampton square off in the Premier League this Saturday in Roy Hodgson's first game in charge of the Eagles.
Palace will be desperate to get their first win of the season following four straight Premier League defeats under Frank de Boer, while Southampton will fancy their chances against a team that has yet to score a league goal so far this campaign.
Southampton 4-1 Crystal Palace
On the final day of the 2015/16 Premier League season, Southampton knew a win against Palace would secure them a sixth-place finish and a spot in the Europa League.
Sadio Mane capitalised on a mistake from Julian Speroni to give the Saints an early lead. Italian striker Graziano Pelle put Southampton two clear 15 minutes into the second half, only for Jason Puncheon to pull a goal back for the Eagles within three minutes.
However, a penalty converted by Ryan Bertrand and an 87th minute strike from Steven Davis sealed a 4-1 victory for the home-side and earned Southampton their highest points tally in Premier League history.
Andros Townsend vs Ryan Bertrand
The England teamates are set to do battle this Saturday as Andros Townsend is expected to be deployed in the right-wing position against Southampton, meaning he will be tasked with beating Three Lions left-back Ryan Bertrand.
Ryan Bertrand has developed into one of the Premier League's best left-footed full-backs since joining the Saints on a permanent basis in the winter transfer window of 2015. However, the Champions League winner will have to be alert to Townsend's ability to cut onto his stronger left-foot and unleash accurate strikes towards goal.
If Bertrand can contain the former Tottenham winger, Southampton will have nullified one of Crystal Palace's biggest threats.
Crystal Palace talisman Wilfred Zaha is still sidelined with an injury picked up against Huddersfield, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is likely to be unavailable through injury as well. Connor Wickham and Pape Souare are long-term absentees for the Eagles.
Southampton will have key centre-back Virgil van Dijk available for selection following the closing of the summer transfer window. The Dutchman played the full 90 minutes for Southampton's Under-23 side this week in a 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino will be desperate for his team to avoid back-to-back defeats following their disappointing performance against Watford last Saturday.
Newly appointed Palace manager Roy Hodgson's top priority will be to get at least a point on the board following four consecutive loses.
Due to the new manager boost Crystal Palace will receive from the former England gaffer's appointment, they will avoid defeat at the fifth time of asking but will not have enough firepower to come out with all three points.
Crystal Palace 1-1 Southampton