By 90Min
December 22, 2017

A crucial six pointer in the battle against relegation beckons this Saturday when Crystal Palace travel down to Wales to face a managerless Swansea side rooted to the foot of the table, having picked up just three wins this season whilst scoring only ten goals; the least in England's top flight. 

The aforementioned stat is made all the more embarrassing for the Swans due to the fact that even the Eagles have scored more goals than them, a side who set a record for the worst start to a Premier League season after going the first seven games without a goal. 

Nevertheless, a win for the Welsh club this Saturday would put them back within touching distance of the pack, although a loss would cut them adrift and leave them in a perilous position. 

Here's everything you need to know about this Saturday's crucial encounter...

Classic Encounter

Christopher Lee/GettyImages

Swansea 5-4 Crystal Palace

I'm not one for including a game from the previous season as my classic encounter, but the spectacle on show at the Liberty Stadium last year simply cannot be ignored. 

An eventful game to say the least, although one that looked like a fairly normal affair for the first 45 minutes, this match proved to be the beginning of the end for Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace and ultimately turned out to be one of Bob Bradley's two wins during his time at Swansea. 

After Wilfried Zaha opened the scoring only to see Gylfi Sigurdsson equalise with an excellent free kick, the two sides went into the break all square at 1-1, and absolutely no one inside the Liberty Stadium could've foreseen what was to come. 

Seven goals followed after the restart, including four inside 11 second half minutes as the Eagles battled back from 3-1 down to lead 4-3 going into stoppage time, only to throw it all away inside two crazy stoppage time minutes at the hands of super sub Fernando Llorente. 

The Palace players looked absolutely shell shocked after the final whistle, and their woes were worsened ever more as it was revealed that the knee injury sustained by Connor Wickham in the frenzied encounter would rule him out for over a year.  

Key Battle


Federico Fernandez vs Wilfried Zaha

The ability on show and the influence that Wilfried Zaha is beginning to have on games of late is becoming scary; the Ivorian is capable of winning games on his own for this Palace side. 

Palace fans will tell you that their academy graduate has been doing this for almost a decade in red and blue, and they'd be right, but it is his unerring consistency and improving end product that is making neutral fans sit up and take notice. 

Fernandez is considered to be one of the Swans' better players, and he will definitely need to be switched on against Palace's talisman if he wants to help drag his side out of the mire. 

Team News

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After heading in his first goal of the season and looking back to his best, Christian Benteke will not be able to extend his good form as he sits out the trip to Swansea after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Leicester. 

Roy Hodgson also finds himself without full back Joel Ward as he continues his recovery from a calf issue, whilst Frenchman Mamadou Sakho also remains out with a more serious issue with his calf. 

Connor Wickham has recently returned to training as he continues his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury, although will need to play some reserve matches in order to build up his fitness. Damien Delaney is also unavailable through injury once again, whereas Timothy Fosu-Mensah will need a late check on a hamstring complaint. 

Luka Milivojevic is available after serving a one match suspension. 

For Swansea, caretaker manager Leon Britton will be without the services of forward Wilfried Bony, who was substituted through injury during Monday's game against Everton. Wayne Routledge and Ki Sung-yeung are slight doubts for the game due to muscle fatigue and a calf strain respectively, whilst Kyle Bartley also remains out. Britton also ruled himself out of the game due to a calf issue in his pre match presser. 

Potential Swansea Starting XI: Fabianski, Naughton, Mawson, Fernandez, Olsson, Fer, Mesa, Carroll, Narsingh, Dyer, Abraham

Potential Crystal Palace XI: Speroni, Kelly, Dann, Tomkins, Schlupp, Milivojevic, Cabaye, Loftus-Cheek, Sako, Zaha, Townsend


Stu Forster/GettyImages

This game could go one of two ways for Swansea. They could put in a spirited and buoyant performance for the fans and Leon Britton, who will be in charge of the Swans for the game, or they could roll over and feel sorry for themselves. 

The former potentiality could be a banana skin for Palace, and it would be typical for the Eagles to lose to a manager-less side who sit bottom of the table even off the back of a club record seven Premier League games unbeaten, so this fixture is a tough one to call. 

Hodgson's impressive Palace side may prove to have just too much for the Swans, and have one of the best players outside the top six in Wilfried Zaha, a man capable of turning any game in his side's favour. 

Prediction: Swansea 0-1 Crystal Palace

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