Locked together on 34 points, Crystal Palace face Aston Villa with both looking for the one victory they need to virtually ensure safety.
Crystal Palace are the team with the momentum, having followed up their amazing win over Chelsea by thrashing Cardiff City to leave themselves on the brink of survival for the first time in the Premier League era. Manager Tony Pulis deserves a great deal of credit for way he has turned the Eagles from apparent relegation certainties to a competitive top-flight club, and the Welshman has enhanced his reputation in the process.
Lying comfortably in mid-table after getting the better of Chelsea on March 22, Aston Villa have now lost three in a row and supporters are now beginning to show their discontent. They should have enough to secure their Premier League future, but it has been a very inconsistent campaign for Paul Lambert’s men, who found the going extremely tough against Fulham last time out without the presence of Christian Benteke.
Marouane Chamakh could return to the starting line-up for Crystal Palace, who have a fully-fit squad available, although Pulis is unlikely to make many changes.
Aston Villa are likely to continue with Grant Holt as the main striker, with Benteke along with Libor Kozak and Jores Okore, set to miss the rest of the season. They are boosted however by the return of Gabriel Agbonlahor, Fabian Delph and Karim El Ahmadi.
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