Bournemouth host Crystal Palace at the Vitality Stadium on Monday night in a Premier League clash between two sides looking to build on their promising starts to the season.
The Monday night football will see Eddie Howe’s high-flying Bournemouth looking to build on a strong opening to their campaign which has seen the Cherries win three of their first six league matches, though they will be looking to bounce back from a comprehensive defeat away to Burnley last time out.
It has been something more of a mixed bag for Crystal Palace so far this season, though two wins and one draw from the Eagles’ first six league matches have provided solid foundations for Roy Hodgson’s side to build upon. Having not lost in their last two outings in the league, Palace will be hoping to continue their solid recent form moving forward.
Though both sides have enjoyed relative comfort in the opening phases of the Premier League and currently occupy strong mid-table positions at present, each team will know that Monday night’s match is the kind of fixture in which the three points could be key to securing their position in the top flight in the long-run.
Bournemouth’s strong start to the campaign has seen them climb to eighth in the Premier League table, though their recent form does not reflect what has been a generally bright opening from the Cherries.
A 2-0 defeat away to Chelsea was followed by a strong response as Eddie Howe’s side thumped Leicester 4-2, with the Foxes providing two late goals in reply to Bournemouth’s storming four-goal lead in the match.
The following 4-0 defeat away to Burnley would have come as a shock to the system, though, and the Cherries began their response with a narrow 3-2 win over Blackburn Rovers in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday. A late Callum Wilson strike saw Bournemouth over the line in midweek.
Crystal Palace’s recent form has shown similar resilience and mettle. Having suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to Southampton, the Eagles responded with a hard-fought 1-0 victory away to Huddersfield Town, before securing a 0-0 draw at home to Newcastle United last time out in the league.
Hodgson’s side have since secured their place in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup in midweek, courtesy of a comfortable 3-0 success away to Championship side West Bromwich Albion. Palace will be looking to build on their encouraging form as they head for the South coast on Monday night.
The last meeting between the two sides saw a thrilling encounter at the Vitality Stadium in April earlier this year.
Seeking to pull themselves clear of a tough relegation battle, Luka Milivojevic gave the away side a timely lead just after half time to settle the nerves, but Lys Mousset was on hand to reply with Bournemouth’s equaliser just after the hour mark.
Star man Wilfried Zaha looked to have won it for his side with a 75th-minute strike to seemingly seal a crucial win for Palace, before Bournemouth denied the visitors once more with a last-minute equaliser from Joshua King to draw the sides level at 2-2 and earn a point for the hosts.
Charlie Daniels remains absent for Bournemouth ahead of Monday night, as the 32-year-old continues his recovery from an ongoing knee problem, whilst midfielder Dan Gosling is a fitness doubt for the match at the Vitality Stadium.
Defender Scott Dann remains absent for the visitors as the 31-year-old continues to recover from a cruciate ligament rupture, whilst forward Connor Wickham is also continuing his rehabilitation from a similar injury of his own.
Christian Benteke is also set to continue to miss out with a knee problem, whilst defenders Pape Souare and Jairo Riedewald remain fitness doubts for Palace.
The two teams appear relatively well-matched on current form. Though Crystal Palace arrive into the match with the greater momentum following a more comfortable run of recent results, Bournemouth will be boosted by home comforts at the Vitality Stadium.
Palace are arguably stronger on paper in terms of individual personnel, but Bournemouth have a knack of pulling together as a team and displaying an excellent work ethic to secure results.
The previous encounter was further evidence that there is little to choose between the two sides, and Monday night’s meeting should prove to be another closely-fought affair.
Score prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Crystal Palace