Crystal Palace will be aiming for their first home win of the new season when they entertain Aston Villa, who also lost narrowly to one of last season’s top four in their previous match.
There were plenty of positives for the Eagles to take from their defeat to Arsenal, losing out to an unfortunate own goal after Joel Ward’s crisply struck equaliser. It was another strong performance which, on another day, would have been enough to gain at least a point, so they will undoubtedly come into this very different test with confidence, while the progress the club has made in recent months means there will be an added degree of expectation from the stands.
While they possess an obvious threat in attack through a multitude of pacy wingers and the focal point provided by either Glenn Murray or Connor Wickham, set-pieces could be the ideal route to goal for Palace here. Villa certainly lack the height of when Christian Benteke and Ron Vlaar was at the club, so the likes of Scott Dann, often the man who rises the highest, could profit here, especially with the quality of delivery from dead-ball specialists Yohan Cabaye and Jason Puncheon.
It has been a resilient start to the campaign for Aston Villa, but their lack of a significant attacking threat was obvious as they lost to Manchester United. They struggled throughout to create dangerous situations for the Red Devils defence and never committed enough men forward in search of the goal which would have earned them a respectable point, so Rudy Gestede could be called upon by manager Tim Sherwood to give opposition defences something bigger to think about.
The former Blackburn Rovers star was among several new signings that many supporters saw for the first time, and they certainly proved to be a hardworking bunch, evidenced most prominently by Idrissa Gueye’s constant closing down in the early stages. Jordan Ayew never gave up but often lacked quality in the final third and new captain Micah Richards was commanding at centre-back, but the pick of them was left-back Jordan Amavi, who showed real potential on his home debut.
There are no new injury concerns for Crystal Palace, who are still without goalkeeper Julian Speroni and striker Marouane Chamakh.
Villa were handed a boost during the week with midfielders Carles Gil and Jack Grealish both proving their fitness, so they could feature here. New signing Adama Traore could make his debut after arriving from Barcelona.
Last Meeting: Christian Benteke returned from a three-match ban to fire home the winner for Aston Villa at Selhurst Park in December 2014 as the hosts were made to pay for wastefulness in the attacking third, so often let down by a poor final ball. The Belgian found the far corner after 32 minutes with a shot from the edge of the penalty area, with Andres Weimann’s saved attempt the closest Villa came to a second.
Played for both – Barry Bannan: The Scottish international midfielder arrived at Villa as a 15-year-old in 2004, making his first-team debut over four years later. In between three loan spells he scored once in 61 Premier League appearances before joining Palace upon their promotion in 2013. His only goal to date was the winner at Hull City in November of that year and he remains at the club, although seemingly surplus to requirements having not played under Alan Pardew.
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