Crystal Palace vs West Ham Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battles, Team News & More

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16th placed West Ham travel down to Selhurst Park this Saturday to face their London rivals Crystal Palace, with the Eagles still propping up the Premier League with just a single win to their name. 

The east Londoners will be in buoyant spirits for the crunch clash having overturned a 2-0 deficit to triumph 3-2 over Tottenham at Wembley on Wednesday night, a result which will have given Slaven Bilic a weight off his shoulders and proved that his players are willing to play for him.

Palace, on the other hand, are returning to Premier League action off the back of a thoroughly embarrassing 4-1 loss at Ashton Gate at the hands of Bristol City, a result and performance which left Roy Hodgson scathing of his players whilst apologetic to the fans after the final whistle. 

One would feel that if the Eagles weren't to pick up the three points this weekend against Bilic's men, the writing could be on the wall for a side who would be left with just three points from ten games should defeat await them this Saturday. 

Here's everything you need to know for the crucial London derby this Saturday...

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Classic Encounter


The Eagles got one over on their London rivals in ironic fashion back in 2004, when a 1-0 win at the Millennium Stadium saw the south Londoners promoted to England's top flight after a six year absence. 

The irony of the matter being the fact that Iain Dowie's side only snuck into the play-offs on the last day of the Championship season courtesy of a West Ham injury time goal against Wigan, and the Eagles took full advantage of their east London neighbours gift to beat them to the top. 

Palace shocked the whole of England with their story, languishing in 19th place before Dowie took the reigns at Selhurst Park, ultimately propelling them up the table and into the Premiership - as it was regarded back then - at the first time of asking; albeit unexpectedly.  

Coincidentally, the Irons could get a slice of revenge this Saturday, as a win for them down in south London would go some way to clipping the Eagles' wings and dropping them back into the Championship. 

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Key Battle

Luka Milivojević vs Manuel Lanzini


Palace's Serbian stalwart will have to bring his A game defensively this Saturday when Manuel Lanzini comes to town. The Argentinian playmaker always seems to pop up against the south Londoners, scoring four goals in his last four games against the Eagles, and looks set to start after playing a key role in the comeback at Wembley on Wednesday evening. 

Milivojević can shackle anyone on his day, combining a mixture of crunching tackles, composure and positional awareness to boss the midfield and nullify the opponent's creative source, but Lanzini is the bogey player for the Eagles so the Serbian will have to be focused. 

If Andy Carroll starts as expected, Palace's centre backs will be preoccupied with aerial battles against the Englishman which could perhaps allow Lanzini into the game through knock downs, so Milivojevic may have to shadow the 24-year-old closely. 

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Team News


Bilic welcomes Andy Carroll back to Premier League action this Saturday after the former Liverpool forward served a one match ban for his red card in the 1-1 draw away to Burnley, but may be without Diafra Sakho who is suffering from back pains. 

Hodgson is still without his only two recognised senior strikers in the form of Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham, both of whom are missing through knee injuries. James McArthur is also 50/50 to make Saturday's match after receiving treatment all week, whilst Lee Chung-Yong is set for a scan.  

Pape Souare may be in contention for the left back spot in the Eagles starting XI along with Jeffrey Schlupp, such was Patrick van Aanholt's dismal performance in midweek, whilst the false 'striker' spot in the Palace lineup may be delegated to either of Ruben Loftus-Cheek or Bakary Sako; who was a threat at Ashton Gate. 

Potential Crystal Palace Lineup: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Sakho, Schlupp, Milivojević, Cabaye, Loftus-Cheek, Townsend, Sako, Zaha

Potential West Ham Lineup: Hart, Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble, Obiang, Antonio, Lanzini, Ayew, Carroll

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Saturday's bottom of the table clash should hold more significance for the south Londoners than it does for their east London counterparts, with many viewing the clash as make or break for the Eagles in their bid for Premier League survival. 

Bilic has been given a stay of execution following the inspirational 3-2 win over Spurs, but that should not deflect from their abysmal league form. The former Besiktas boss may start to feel the pressure at the London Stadium again should the Hammers succumb to the Eagles, and he will hope to take the momentum from their Wembley showing down to Selhurst Park. 

The away end at Ashton Gate on Tuesday evening was a toxic place for Palace after the final whistle, emphasised by the rejection of Pape Souare's shirt once it had been thrown amidst the fans by the Senegalese. It will be interesting to see the reaction of the Selhurst Park faithful come Saturday, as another poor showing could turn the atmosphere sour in south London. 

Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-3 West Ham