By 90Min
January 02, 2018

After becoming the first team to shut out Manchester City last time out, an inspired Crystal Palace embarking on a run of just one defeat in ten will be in a confident mood for this Tuesday's trip to St Mary's, where the Eagles will take on a depleted Southampton side who are without a win in eight games. 

Mauricio Pellegrino's men are in extremely poor form, succumbing to a rampant Spurs side and conceding five goals in the process, before holding Manchester United to a drab 0-0 at Old Trafford last time out, a game in which they looked better defensively but still fairly goal shy. 

Roy Hodgson's men, on the other hand, will have had their confidence improved immeasurably after going toe to toe with arguably the best side in Europe at the moment, and could've snatched all three points for themselves but for Luka Milivojevic's missed penalty. 

Here's everything you need to know for Tuesday evening's encounter...

Classic Encounter

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Back in 2012, when both these sides plied their trade in the Championship, this fixture served up a spectacle holding huge significance in the race for promotion, as far as the south coast side were concerned that is. 

A Saints side boasting the likes of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Jose Fonte put in an accomplished display at Selhurst Park, a game in which Lambert notched a match winning brace to earn his side a 2-0 win and three crucial points to extend their lead at the top of the table.

Interestingly, the Palace side on the receiving end of a Lambert masterclass that day contained the likes of Julian Speroni and Wilfried Zaha, two iconic players in the Eagles' past and present, with both set to start Tuesday's encounter against Pellegrino's men. 

Ironically, the Eagles were languishing at the wrong end of the table whilst the Saints battled away at the top, so it is of some surprise to say the least that the south Londoners have made it as an accomplished Premier League side in such a short space of time. 

Key Battle

Wilfried Zaha vs Jack Stephens

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Despite being unfairly tarnished with the tag of being a diver for the majority of the season, Wilfried Zaha continues to hush his critics week in week out, and has become the poster boy of south London and the talisman of this Palace side. 

Notably, when Pep Guardiola pinpoints you as a danger man, your talents shouldn't go under the radar, and in Zaha's case, more and more are becoming aware of his immense capabilities; something that Southampton's Jack Stephens should find out come Tuesday evening. 

There isn't much to split the two sides who both sit in the bottom five of the league, so a little bit of individual brilliance may need to be in the offing if either side is to snatch all three points, an element of the game that Palace's Ivorian forward is no stranger to. 

Team News

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Right, in Palace's case, where do we start? In addition to the existing injuries currently keeping Joel Ward, Mamadou Sakho and Connor Wickham out, the Eagles now face the possibility of being without both their captain and vice captain - Jason Puncheon and Scott Dann respectively - for the remainder of the season after both players were stretchered off against City. 

The duo may have knee ligament damage and will need scans to determine the extent of their injuries. Meanwhile, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and James McArthur will both need late fitness tests before Hodgson can call on them against the Saints. 

For Southampton, Pellegrino has been without first choice full backs Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares as well as top scorer Charlie Austin through injury, although Bertrand may make the game depending on the results of a late fitness test, meaning that Jack Stephens and Matt Targett may again start in the wide defensive areas whist Manolo Gabbiadini should start up top. 

Former Eagle Alex McCarthy is expected to start in goal again due to Fraser Forster's indifferent form. 

Potential Southampton Lineup: McCarthy, Stephens, Yoshida, Hoedt, Targett, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Redmond, Tadic, Boufal, Long

Potential Crystal Palace Lineup: Speroni, Fosu-Mensah, Tomkins, Kelly, Schlupp, Townsend, Cabaye, Milivojevic, Loftus-Cheek, Zaha, Benteke


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It isn't through luck that the Eagles have lost just once in their last ten games, as Hodgson has worked wonders in taking a team that lost their first seven games into a side who just went up against the Champions elect and almost came out victorious. 

Southampton's poor run of form won't last, however, as the Saints have too many experienced players with individual quality to find themselves in the mire for much longer, although their situation at the moment is pretty bleak. 

Palace's injury crisis coupled with Southampton's timidness at the moment may serve up a less than inspiring game of football filled with caution from both sides; this probably won't be one for the archives. 

Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Crystal Palace

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