On Sunday lunchtime Crystal Palace host Hull City at Selhurst Park in a crucial game in the Premier League relegation battle.
Crystal Palace will kick-off this game in 16th place in the Premier League table, just four points ahead of the visitors, who occupy the final relegation berth. The Eagles looked to be safe from the drop a few weeks ago, but three consecutive defeats in the top-flight have dragged Sam Allardyce’s men back into the fight for survival.
The home side are now looking over their shoulders nervously at Swansea and Hull below them. However, a draw or victory would end their relegation worries and secure their top-flight status for next season.
Any win at this stage of the campaign would be welcome, especially as the Eagles have won just two of their last seven league games. Palace’s home record has not been great of late in the top-flight, though, as the Eagles have won just three of their last 11 league games on home soil. Allardyce’s team have also suffered consecutive home defeats in the Premier League.
Palace have not won any of their last three competitive meetings with Hull, but the Eagles know they do not necessarily have to win this clash, rather just avoid defeat.
For Hull the scenario is now simple, they have to win this game. The Tigers are currently a point behind 17th place Swansea, who face rock-bottom Sunderland on Saturday afternoon. A win for the Swans in the north east would mean that Hull would be relegated if they lost this clash.
Last time out the Tigers suffered a surprise 2-0 home defeat against Sunderland. The win left their survival hopes hanging by a thread. Marco Silva’s sides form has been poor of late with just one win in their last five league games.
The visitors have not won in their last 17 away games in the Premier League. In fact, their only away win of the season came on the opening day when ironically the Tigers won 2-0 at relegation rivals Swansea City.
To make matters worse, the Tigers have conceded two or more goals in five of their last six away games in the Premier League. A few positives for the visitors are that they drew 0-0 at Southampton last time out and that Palace have not scored in their last three league outings.
Team News – The home side have a major injury list, with Connor Wickham, Scott Dann, Papa Souare, James Tomkins, Yohan Cabaye and Mamadou Sakho expected to miss out through injury. Joel Ward and Andros Townsend are also fitness doubts for the Eagles. Hull have some major injury problems too, as the visitors are without Moses Odubajo, Will Keane, Ryan Mason, Lazar Markovic and David Meyler through injury. Norwegian full-back Omar Elabdellaoui is also a doubt.
Prediction – Both sides head into this game in questionable form. However, Hull have been terrible on their travels in the top-flight and I expect the home side to record a comfortable victory in this vital clash.