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Match Previews

PREVIEW: CRYSTAL PALACE V ALBION

12 April 2018

Kieran Cleeves
Albion travel to Selhurst Park to play Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.

Brighton & Hove Albion will look to return to winning ways when they play Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon - kick-off 3pm - in what’s set to be a crucial game in the battle for Premier League survival.

The Seagulls are six points clear of the relegation zone with five matches remaining, while this weekend’s opponents sit just two points outside the drop zone and have one less game to play.

Chris Hughton’s men are without a win in three Premier League matches, but head to Selhurst Park on the back of two home fixtures that could so easily have led to more than just a point.

The sides played out a goalless draw when the Eagles visited the Amex Stadium in November, and bragging rights will be on the line again when the Seagulls make their first trip to Selhurst Park since 2013.


TEAM NEWS:

Hughton confirmed there are no fresh injury concerns ahead of Saturday's game, but Davy Propper will miss the match as he serves the first game of his three-match suspension.

Anthony Knockaert will be available again after serving his three-game suspension, while Steve Sidwell remains the only absentee through injury.

Crystal Palace could welcome back Christian Benteke to the team, after the striker missed the 2-2 draw against AFC Bournemouth with a groin injury.



Elsewhere, Bakary Sako and Jason Puncheon will miss Saturday’s game at Selhurst Park, as well as Connor Wickham and Scott Dann, who all find themselves sidelined through injury.




REVERSE FIXTURE:

Neither side could find a breakthrough when the Seagulls met the Eagles on the south coast earlier in the season, but Mathew Ryan was needed in the first half, as he made a terrific double save.

The Australian foiled Christian Benteke’s firm effort at goal, before rising back onto his feet to save from Wilfried Zaha, who should have done better from a his team-mate’s parried strike.

Glenn Murray almost snatched it against his former club, but the striker’s header from an Albion corner was cleared off the line by Andros Townsend, which ensured the spoils were shared.


FORM:
The Seagulls ended a three-game losing run with a 1-1 draw against Huddersfield Town at the Amex last weekend, but Hughton’s men will feel frustrated that more points were not taken from back-to-back games on the south coast.

Leicester City scored two late goals to seal a 2-0 victory over Albion, following Murray’s saved penalty in front of the North Stand - and that defeat came after Hughton’s side exited the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford.

Albion had previously strung together a seven-match unbeaten run in all competitions, which included an impressive 2-1 victory over Arsenal at the Amex, and also wins against Swansea City and West Ham United.

The Eagles conceded in the closing stages against AFC Bournemouth to draw 2-2 at the Vitality Stadium, which followed a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool at Selhurst Park, after Roy Hodgson’s team had taken the lead.

Palace ended a seven-game spell without a win against Huddersfield midway through March, but defeats to Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Chelsea came beforehand.

Hodgson’s team have only taken nine points since Albion sealed a 2-1 victory over the Eagles in the Emirates FA Cup third round in January.

LAST TIME OUT: ALBION 1 HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1

ALBION 1
Lossl 29

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1
Mounie 32

ALBION: Ryan; Schelotto, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; March, Stephens, Propper, Izquierdo; Gross (Kayal 76); Murray (Ulloa 67).

Subs not used: Krul (GK), Bruno, Goldson, Locadia.




LAST TIME OUT: CRYSTAL PALACE

AFC BOURNEMOUTH 2
Mousset 65
King 89

CRYSTAL PALACE 2
Milivojevic 47
Zaha 75

CRYSTAL PALACE: Hennessy, Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, van Aanholt; McArthur, Cabaye, Milivojevic, Loftus-Cheek; Zaha, Townsend.

Subs not used: Cavalieri (GK), Chung-yong, Kelly, Souare, Daly, Fosu-Mensah, Riedewald.




PLAYER TO WATCH: Wilfried Zaha

The winger has been deployed in more of a striker’s role this term and has scored five league goals so far. Zaha’s first strike of the season handed his team a first win of the campaign against Chelsea.

Goals against West Ham, Everton and Leicester City followed for the 25-year-old, before he scored Palace’s second goal in their 2-2 draw against AFC Bournemouth on the south coast last weekend.

Zaha has also chipped in with four assists for his team-mates this season, and will be looking to add to his tallies when the Seagulls arrive at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

The Palace man was on the scoresheet when this weekend’s opponents overcame Albion in the 2013 Championship play-off semi-finals, but has yet to net against Hughton’s men at Selhurst Park.


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