Crystal Palace v Southampton preview: Palace look to end losing run
Last Updated: 03/12/16 3:09pm
Crystal Palace will be looking to end a six-match losing run when they host Southampton on Saturday.
The recent run of results have seen the Eagles slide down the Premier League table and they have only won once at Selhurst Park in the league this season.
They looked to be on course for victory against Swansea last weekend until an injury-time collapse saw them lose 5-4.
Yet again Palace were undone by goals from set pieces, and manager Alan Pardew said: "We've changed some situations, worked a lot harder on our low block this week, going over everything we can possibly do.
"We have to defend that last third, at set-plays, in a more resolute manner. I've not changed my back four too often in my career, so I don't think I'll be doing that.
"Most of the games I've lost in my career have been by one goal. I have good coaches here, very good coaches, and I'm sure we can get to the bottom of it."
Southampton should be buoyed by their previous two results - a 1-0 league win over Everton and a 2-0 EFL Cup quarter-final victory at Arsenal on Wednesday.
But they have struggled away from home this season, only winning one of six league games on the road.
Palace's Connor Wickham is facing a long spell on the sidelines after suffering cruciate ligament damage against Swansea.
Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda will miss out as he is set to have knee surgery and Loic Remy, Pape Souare and Jonathan Benteke are also unavailable. Yohan Cabaye is suspended.
Saints boss Claude Puel has no new injury concerns, with Dusan Tadic still out after breaking his nose on international duty with Serbia and Matt Targett also unavailable for selection.
Palace's only Premier League win over Southampton came in last season's meeting at Selhurst Park (D4 L9 otherwise).
Saints have conceded just three times in their last six Premier League meetings against Palace, keeping three clean sheets.
Alan Pardew has lost four of his last five Premier League contests against Southampton (W1).
Alan Pardew has lost his last six Premier League matches; he's never lost seven in a row before as a manager in the top-flight (also six with Newcastle in April 2014).
Palace have conceded a league-high 13 goals from set-pieces this season (inc. pens); two more than they let in last term (11).
If only goals scored by English players counted, Southampton would be top of the Premier League this season on 25 points, with Palace in second (24 points).
Paul Merson's prediction
Crystal Palace need to win this weekend. It's a must, must, must-win game. Alan Pardew isn't stupid and he'll know the importance of it.
However, I can't think of a tougher fixture for Palace. The fans wouldn't be expecting a win against a top-six team but they'll want their side to beat a team like Southampton. At the start of the season, you'd have thought there wouldn't be too much between the two teams. I think this is a nightmare game for Pardew.
Defensively they are shocking. They've tried to attack, attack, attack and they've end up being terrible at the back. The balance is all wrong. I can see it getting worse before it gets better. Away win.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (8/1 with Sky Bet - Most popular Super 6 selection: 30 per cent predict 1-2)
A close game is expected at Selhurst Park according to the odds, with hosts Crystal Palace 23/10 and Southampton 6/5 for all three points. The draw is also 23/10, with 1-1 the most popular selection in the correct score market (5/1). The goals have been flowing in Palace's most recent matches, with their past five games producing 29 goals and Sky Bet offer 11/2 for at least five to be scored in this one.
Crystal Palace v Southampton is part of this weekend's Soccer Saturday Super 6 line-up, with £250,000 up for grabs. Enter your predictions here.