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    Crystal Palace v Southampton Match Preview - Crunch time for Pardew as pressure mounts ahead of saints visit

    Struggling Crystal Palace host Southampton at Selhurst Park hoping to kick start their season and ease the pressure on the under fire Alan Pardew.

    Reports this week have announced that Alan Pardew is on the verge of getting the sack this week with some reports suggesting that if the Eagles fail to win on Saturday then Pardew will be relieved of his duties. Alan Pardew should be used to this pressure on his job after his time at Newcastle with reports coming out almost every year that he was on the verge of being sacked but in the end he came through all these difficult times and he will be hoping that this will be a similar story.

    Crystal Palace come into this fixture on the back of six consecutive defeats with the latest defeat a deflating 5-4 loss away at relegation rivals Swansea with the eagles coming back from 3-1 down to lead 4-3 only to concede two injury time goals to Fernando Llorente completing a deflating collapse.

    Meanwhile the Saints go into this fixture buoyed after last weeks 1-0 victory at home to Everton and even more impressive was the 2-0 victory in midweek away at Arsenal in the EFL cup which booked a semi final place where they will face Liverpool over two legs. Claude Puel's men have struggled on the road this year with only one win out of six on there travels in the league.

    Virgil Van Dijk has been a rock at the back for the Saints this season.

    Tactical Analysis

    Crystal Palace

    The Eagle's started the season with Alan Pardew's favoured tactic 4-2-3-1 with Christian Benteke upfront on his own with Wilfred Zaha, Andros Townsend and Jason Puncheon allowed the creative freedom to create chances which has worked quite well at times and this attacking flair has resulted in Crystal Palace scoring 21 goals in the league which is the 5th highest. At the back though its a totally different story with Palace having the 2nd joint leakiest defence in the league and this meant that Alan Pardew had to change to a 4-4-2 to try and compact the midfield but this has not helped and even more goals seem to be going in which has resulted in Alan Pardew's job being on the line.

    Scott Dann has struggled like the rest of the Eagle's defence


    Claude Puel shocked a lot of fans at the start of the season by using a diamond formation with Nathan Redmond starting upfront with either Charlie Austin or Shane Long with Dusan Tadic just behind the front two being allowed the creative free role to carve out chances but since Tadic's injury the saints have reverted to a 4-3-3 which has resulted in Redmond going back to his wide role. The change of formation has helped the Saints to three consecutive league clean sheets but has shown a lot more width in the side allowing more of the midfield to push on and support Charlie Austin.

    Team News

    Crystal Palace

    Crystal Palace will be missing Yohan Cabaye after picking up his 5th booking against Swansea meanwhile after last weeks defensive horror Alan Pardew has suggested that changes maybe made which could mean Damien Delaney and Zeki Fryers come into the side for James Tomkins and Martin Kelly. Connor Wickham has been ruled out for season with a knee ligament injury so Andros Townsend should replace him. Wayne Hennessy will also keep his position after Steve Mandanda was ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury.

    Predicted Line Up : Hennessy, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Fryers, Ledley, McArther, Zaha, Puncheon, Townsend, Benteke

    Dusan Tadic remains sidelined with a broken nose


    Southampton remain without the services of Serbian playmaker Dusan Tadic due to a broken nose but other than that the Saint's have a full strength squad and Claude Puel has the envious choice of many options. Josh Sims was man of the match on his debut last Sunday against Everton but it is widely expected that Sofiane Boufal will replace him in the starting eleven after playing 66 minutes against Arsenal in midweek.

    Predicted Line Up : Forster, Cedric, Fonte, Van Dijk, Bertrand, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Ward Prowse, Boufal, Redmond, Austin

    Key Man to Watch

    Crystal Palace - Scott Dann

    Last season was a fantastic year for Scott Dann with many claiming he had a chance to get in the England squad for Euro 2016 but this year is totally different for the Eagle's skipper. 26 goals have been shipped so far and the blame doesn't solely lie with Dann but its now more than ever that he needs to stand up and lead by example.

    Southampton - Virgil Van Dijk

    Virgil Van Dijk has been a stand out player not only for Southampton but also in the Premier League with reports linking the Dutch international with big money moves in January to Liverpool and Manchester United. Southampton have only conceded 12 goals which is the joint 2nd best defence in the league and Van Dijk has been a major factor towards this especially in the games against Liverpool and Everton where he was a man mountain.

    Kick Off :3:00 (UK)
    Venue :Selhurst Park (London)

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    Item Reviewed: Crystal Palace v Southampton Match Preview - Crunch time for Pardew as pressure mounts ahead of saints visit Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Mark Taylor
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