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    AFC Bournemouth v Crystal Palace Preview

    Crystal Palace will be aiming to climb out of the relegation zone on Tuesday night with a much needed first premier league win since early December with a slightly out of form AFC Bournemouth the opposition at the Vitality Stadium.

    Both teams will be aiming for the win here in what is sure to be an exciting game down on the south coast. Three points would be massive for both sides with Palace desperate and lingering in the bottom three and Bournemouth in need of a pick me up after a few poor results.

    Bournemouth's last outing against Watford ended in a 2-2 draw with the Bournemouth defence being undone by two set pieces but eventually fighting back twice to claim a draw. The conceding of two goals like this will have angered Eddie Howe as I am sure they would have highlighted the aerial threat Watford and Troy Deeney in particular posed before the game. The draw came off the back of two losses to Millwall and Hull so a win on Tuesday would do wonders in lifting the crowd and putting any slight relegation fears to bed.

    Benik Afobe has given Eddie Howe a selection headache by grabbing the late equaliser off the bench last weekend and is pushing for a start which will be either at the expense of the out of form Callum Wilson or Josh King. The return of Simon Francis is also likely to cause changes to the 11 that started last time out with the captain who has been serving a three game ban expected to take the place of stand in centre back Tyrone Mings. Other than that I would expect the same players to play as last week with possibly the exception of Harry Arter to start ahead of Andrew Surman or one of the front two depending on formation.

    The form of Ryan Fraser will make him a key figure for the Cherries on Tuesday night with his pace set to cause the sizeable but relatively slow Palace defence problems. He will be looking to get the ball into feet and test the eagles back-line with his direct running. The vision of Junior Stanislas and Jack Wilshere will also be pivotal in enabling Fraser to get the ball in time and space and cause damage.

    Crystal Palace dramatically lost their last game at home to Everton with a late Seamus Coleman goal taking all three points away from Selhurst Park. The loss continued the winless run of new manager Sam Allardyce which has prompted him to dip into the transfer market with the imminent signing of Patrick Van Aanholt adding to that of the confirmed capture of Jeffrey Schlupp. Big Sam will be hoping these signings galvanise his squad and push them up the table and away from trouble as is the normal trend when he takes over a club.

    Adding these signings to the return from the African Cup of Nations of star man Wilfried Zaha and Palace could be a different outfit compared to recent performances.They will need to be if they are to take any points as they have only won two away games all season with the last of those not coming since September 24th against Sunderland.

    Palace are expected to field a similar team to their last outing with the exception of Zaha returning to the 11 with either Remy or Schlupp dropping to the bench. Christian Benteke is expected to play and is sure to cause problems for the Bournemouth defence that conceded two from set pieces last time out and have been shipping lots of goals of late. Palace will look to utilise the width they have to provide plenty of crosses for their target man with Zaha and Puncheon also expected to feature prominently in the game. Set pieces may also be an excellent chance to get on the score sheet for them with the Palace defence experts in attacking good set piece delivery. Scott Dann will be a big threat and it was Dann who scored Palaces late equaliser at Selhurst Park earlier in the season.

    This game is very difficult to predict as the two teams are out of form with the Cherries winning only one of their last seven league and cup matches and Palace being on an awful run for a few months now. All bad runs have to come to an end at some point but I do not think this will be it Palace as despite their size advantage they will struggle to cope with the quick passing game of Bournemouth. I think the result will be a narrow win for Bournemouth with both teams getting on the score sheet, Bournemouth through Benik Afobe and Ryan Fraser with Christian Benteke the scorer for Palace.

    Prediction Bournemouth 2 Crystal Palace 1

    James Kendrick
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    Item Reviewed: AFC Bournemouth v Crystal Palace Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: James Kendrick
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