Crystal Palace will be desperately seeking to end their run of five consecutive Premier League defeats as they head to Swansea City, for whom Francesco Guidolin takes charge of his first home game.
The former Udinese boss was just moments away from making it two wins from two since assuming the reins at the Welsh club, but a failure to deal with a last-gasp corner and the ensuing goalmouth melee meant that they had to settle for a point at West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday. Even so, the signs are good and they now seem to be heading out of the inexplicable malaise that led to them attaining the status of potential relegation candidates.
And it is not a major surprise that they are, given the quality of the squad. Some of the big players including Gylfi Sigurdsson and Wayne Routledge no longer seem to be drastically underperforming, and the Swans ranks have now been added to by the presence of striker Alberto Paloschi, who showed real dynamism after coming off the bench in midweek. With Palace on such a poor run and so low confidence, the hosts will sense a chance of picking up a third win in four games.
It is something of a mystery as to what has led to Palace’s dip in form and struggle for goals over recent weeks, but the fact remains that the only time one of their strikers has found the net in the Premier League this season was when Connor Wickham converted a penalty at Stoke City. Emmanuel Adebayor was brought in as manager Alan Pardew looks to address that miserable record, but despite the Togolese star’s best efforts he could salvage his side anything last time out against Bournemouth.
It was a game in which one of their players managed to score in the top-flight for the first time since before Christmas as Scott Dann gave them the lead, but the Eagles were eventually left to reflect on another disappointing loss that keeps the club in the bottom half. This sequence of results is a major concern as it has led to something of a decrease in the positivity that accumulated so regularly over the first half of the season, and another bad day here will only make matters worse.
For Swansea, there could be a debut for on-loan Queens Park Rangers midfielder Leroy Fer, but Ki Sung-Yueng misses out due to concussion.
Yohan Cabaye and Dwight Gayle are back in contention for Palace, but on the other side of the coin they have just lost James McArthur for the the rest of the season and Jason Puncheon for a number of weeks.