Bournemouth v Crystal Palace preview: Eagles face injury issues
Last Updated: 06/04/18 10:54pm
Crystal Palace face a striker shortage when they travel to Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday.
Christian Benteke is out for Palace after suffering a groin injury in training on Thursday, with the Belgian joining fellow forwards Alexander Sorloth and Connor Wickham on the sidelines.
"Really disappointed I can't be out there helping the team tomorrow," Benteke wrote on Twitter on Friday.
"I picked up a slight injury in training that shouldn't keep me out for long. The timing is frustrating but I'm sure the boys will bring three points home!"
Palace start the weekend two points above the relegation zone, having lost five of their last six games.
Bournemouth are nine points above the bottom three, but although they could reach the 40-point mark with victory on Saturday, manager Eddie Howe will still be taking nothing for granted.
"Until it's mathematically certain, we're in a battle to stay in the division. I want my players to play with confidence and freedom," he said.
Benteke, Sorloth and Wickham are all out injured. James Tomkins is again available for selection, but Jeffrey Schlupp, Joel Ward, Scott Dann, Jason Puncheon and Bakary Sako remain long-term absentees.
Bourmemouth's Junior Stanislas will miss the rest of the season following surgery on a knee injury.
Stanislas was taken off early in the second half of last weekend's 2-2 draw at Watford and further tests show anterior ligament damage.
Captain Simon Francis (hamstring) will be assessed and forward Lys Mousset could be available again following injury.
Defender Adam Smith remains sidelined by a knee problem, while Tyrone Mings (back) also continues his rehabilitation from a back injury.
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Crystal Palace have kept a clean sheet in both of their Premier League away games against Bournemouth, with a 2-0 win last season following a 0-0 draw in December 2015.
The Cherries have both scored and conceded in 12 of their last 13 Premier League games, including each of the last seven in a row.
Bournemouth have won 14 of a possible 21 points from their last seven home Premier League games (W4 D2 L1).
After gaining a maximum six points from their opening two Premier League games in 2018, Crystal Palace have won just five from their last 27 available in the division (W1 D2 L6).
Jermain Defoe has scored a brace in each of his last three Premier League games against Crystal Palace - only one other player has scored 2+ goals in four consecutive appearances versus a single team in the competition (Michael Owen vs Newcastle between 1998-2001).
It's a funny game this. Palace are still in it but have some nice fixtures coming up. I didn't realise where they were.
I'm going for a big Palace away win, with the players they've got like Wilfried Zaha and Benteke.
Bournemouth start games very slow and then get back into the game. But I don't see that being the case if they start slow against Palace, who I can see picking them off even more in the second half.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (9-1 with Sky Bet)