Swansea City vs Crystal Palace: Match preview and predicted line-ups
Saturday afternoon’s clash at the Liberty Stadium will feature the two statistically worst teams in the Premier League over the last six games. Swansea find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table with a mere one win all season, but have looked better since Bob Bradley took the reins.
Palace meanwhile lie two places above the relegation zone, and are desperate to turn around a poor run of form of their own and pull away from the bottom three. It has also recently come to light that the have the worst match to points ratio of 2016 in the entirety of the top four divisions.
The Swans have just one win to their name all season in the league and haven’t tasted victory in any of their last six games (D2, L4). They have looked better since the arrival of former USA and Egypt coach Bob Bradley as manager and came minutes away from their second win of the season at Everton last week, only to be denied by an 89th minute equaliser, leaving them winless in 11. They are in need of a win here but the omens don’t make for overly positive reading: the last three matches between these two teams in all competitions have ended in draws.
Crystal Palace meanwhile have lost five of their last six Premier League games and are in desperate need of a turnaround of their own. In their last five games they have been losing at half-time and have gone on to lose the game at full-time, and have shipped at least two goals in their last four outings. Swansea however have also let in at least two goals in five of their last six, so there is potential for goals here.
Bob Bradley is still in the process of figuring out his best starting XI at Swansea, and it is likely therefore that he could well keep faith with the same side that battled to a draw at Everton and very nearly took all three points. That will mean a 4-3-3 with Gylfi Sigurdsson operating as a central striker, flanked by Wayne Routledge and Modou Barrow. Leroy Fer, Jay Fulton and Jack Cork will feature in the midfield three, and Jordi Amat will remain in central defence after an impressive performance at Goodison last week.
If Steve Mandanda fails in his race for fitness then Wayne Hennessey will continue in goal for visitors Palace, whilst the rest of the side should be largely unchanged. A 4-2-3-1 setup is expected, with Christian Benteke the main man up front. Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha will operate out wide behind him, Jason Puncheon the man to occupy the Number Ten role. James McArthur and Yohan Cabaye are the favourites to be paired in centre midfield.
Swansea City predicted starting XI Crystal Palace predicted starting XI
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For the hosts, Ki Sung-Yeung is out with a broken toe, whilst Jefferson Montero is rated doubtful. Nathan Dyer made his first appearance in three months for the Swans at Everton last time out, but sits out this one through injury.
For Crystal Palace, Alan Pardew has to contend with the absences of Pape Souaré, Loic Remy and Jonathan Benteke. Steve Mandanda is near a return from injury, but rated doubtful to return in goal for this one.
With both sides on a poor run of form, it is difficult to predict a winner in a game which may already be something of a six-pointer.
Swansea haven’t won in the league since the opening day of the season and have lost eight of the following 11 league matches. Without a win at home all season, they have conceded at least two goals in six of their seven matches on home soil, leaving themselves bottom of the league and five points from safety.
Palace aren’t faring much better, and the revelation of them being the worst statistical side of 2016 has served little more than to add further unwanted pressure and criticism on beleaguered boss Alan Pardew, but 0.71 points per game is a strikingly poor return for the calendar year and the Eagles will be desperate to try to salvage some respectability from this last 12 months.
They are in a poor run of five straight defeats, and there have been under 2.5 goals in all six of the last meetings between the two teams. That may suggest that there won’t be many goals, but given the way these teams have been defending, don’t be surprised if there is.
The last three at the Liberty Stadium have ended 1-1, but with both teams rocky at the back, there should be more goals. Our call is an exciting 2-2 draw.
Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by Paul Wright.
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