Roy Hodgson will take his first game in charge of Crystal Palace this weekend following Frank de Boer’s sacking last week when Southampton are the visitors to Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Dutchman lasted just four games of the Premier League season before being relieved of his duties, failing to score in over 360 minutes of football and sitting bottom of the table on zero points.
And they will face the test of a Southampton side that are also struggling for inspiration in front of goal lately, with Mauricio Pellegrino’s men only scoring in one of their four matches so far.
Crystal Palace have failed to continue their rejuvenation under Sam Allardyce at the end of last season that saw them miraculously avoid relegation, failing to register a point after four matches.
Defeats to Huddersfield, Swansea City, Liverpool and Burnley – three teams that would be considered relegation rivals – have seen the Eagles get off to the worst possible start to the year.
But their performance in the 1-0 defeat at Turf Moor was a vast improvement last weekend, giving new boss Hodgson hope that they could turn their early season woes around against Southampton.
And the visitors have had an equally underwhelming start to the campaign, with a last-gasp 3-2 victory over West Ham the best that things have been so far as the south coast side have struggled to find goals.
That victory over the Hammers was sandwiched between drab 0-0 draws against Swansea City and newly-promoted Huddersfield, whilst a 2-0 defeat to Watford last time out was equally uninspiring.
The big news as far as Hodgson will be concerned ahead of his first team selection is that deadline day arrival Mamadou Sakho may make a first start after playing for the development side this week.
Wilfried Zaha is still side-lined through injury, with James Tomkins and Ruben Loftus-Cheek also doubts ahead of Saturday’s clash, whilst Lee Chung-yong could see himself dropped for his error.
For the Saints, manager Pellegrino has a decision to make over problematic defender Virgil van Dijk, with the Dutchman in contention to feature for the first time this campaign ahead of Wesley Hoedt.
Dusan Tadic could be re-instated in the starting line-up after coming off the bench in the defeat to Watford, replacing Sofiane Boufal, whilst midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is absent from the squad.
Match Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Southampton
Roy Hodgson will be desperate to celebrate his return to the Premier League with a much-needed victory over Southampton on Saturday, and he’ll set his side up going in search of those three points.
The former England boss isn’t likely to ring too many changes to his side in an attacking sense but he will hope that Christian Benteke can get himself – and Crystal Palace – off the mark for the season after a recent record that has seen him score five goals in his last five appearances against Southampton.
It certainly won’t be a classic down at Selhurst Park, with both sides lacking confidence in front of goal after their respective poor starts, and it may be a case of both teams cancelling each other out.