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Saints vs Crystal Palace: Preview

PUBLISHED

09:00 27th September 2013

Saints return to league action this weekend when Crystal Palace travel down to Southampton.

The team will be aiming for back-to-back wins at St Mary’s and have a chance to make it a third victory over the course of a week in all competitions following successes over Liverpool in the league last Saturday and Bristol City in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.

With two draws recorded from the opening two league fixtures at home, Mauricio Pochettino will be looking to make it third time lucky in SO14 this weekend in a bid to keep all three points on the south coast.

Saints can keep in touch with the teams challenging at the top end of the table with a win, but they will face a Crystal Palace side eager to get off the mark away from home as they search for their first points on the road this term.

Palace are 19th after the first five games of the season with their three points on the board all coming from a home win over Sunderland at the end of August at Selhurst Park.

The Eagles are also without a goal in their previous two matches and will need to find inspiration to upset Saints’ impressive defensive record, which has seen just two goals go against Artur Boruc so far this season.

Two Saints will face their former club this weekend with Nathaniel Clyne – who spoke to the press ahead of the game – and José Fonte, who is the subject of the feature interview inside this weekend’s edition of the SAINTS Matchday Magazine, which is available on the day of the game in and around St Mary’s priced at £3.

Team News

Mauricio Pochettino says he will wait to assess the recovery of the players who impressed in midweek before naming his squad for the game.

Many fringe players got some valuable playing time on Tuesday in the Capital One Cup, which boosts the manager’s options as he looks to build on last week’s win at Anfield.

Palace, meanwhile, are likely to be without defender Damien Delaney, who suffered a heel injury against Swansea last weekend.

On-loan winger Jason Puncheon is ineligible to play due to the terms of his deal from Saints, so Jerome Thomas and Jimmy Kebe are pushing for places in the side.

Kagisho Dikgacoi is also likely to return after sitting out a one-game ban, and defender Joel Ward could also come back into contention at right-back.

Pre-match quotes

Mauricio Pochettino:

"I don't really mind the expectation from the outside. We have understand that the game against Crystal Palace is the most important game ahead of us. 

"The victories against Liverpool at Anfield and in the Capital One Cup are in the past, so the only thing on my mind right now is the game ahead.

"As with any promoted side, it's clear that they will play with a special spirit because they're new to the Premier League. 

"As is always the case in this league, there are no easy matches so we'll need to be really focused on doing everything well. We'll be going out there focused on getting three points."

Ian Holloway:

“We had five of the front six who are new against Swansea. If we had KG (Dikgacoi) and Mile (Jedinak) in the middle, it would have made the back four feel safe. We have that back now.

“Southampton have got a good thing going on – they spent some money and the manager Pochettino presses the team well.

“I have massive respect for them. They’re really going to have a go, but it’s a great opportunity to play on a wonderful surface.

“I’m convinced we’ll take our good attitude into the game. They do have some fantastic players [like] Rickie Lambert, who is an England striker now.

“But we’ve got to hurt them at the other end. If my staff and players can stay positive as me, we’ll be all right.”

Previous Meetings

The last three meetings have finished 2-0 with Saints taking both of the last two league meetings by that scoreline.

Palace were winners in this tie during the League Cup in 2011 – a game in which James Ward-Prowse made his First Team debut for Saints.

A Rickie Lambert double did the damage against the Eagles at Selhurst Park in 2011/12. Earlier in that season, Guly do Prado’s brace earned Saints a 2-0 win at St Mary’s.

The five previous seasons of meetings in this fixture came at Championship level, with Palace winners here just the once in that time – a 4-1 win on the opening day of the 2007/08 campaign.

The last Premier League meetings were in 2004/05 with both games finishing 2-2. Current Eagles star Kevin Phillips scored for Saints against Palace at St Mary’s in the November 2004 contest.

Overall, there have been 72 meetings between the two teams, with Saints winning 33 of those matches to Palace’s 23, and 16 games ending in a draw.

Match Information

Martin Atkinson will referee Saturday’s game, and he will be assisted by Mr S Burt and Mr D England. Lee Probert is the fourth official.

Online Coverage

As with every First Team game, we'll be providing minute-by-minute coverage throughout the day on our official Twitter feed plus goal updates on our official Facebook page.

You can listen to live commentary courtesy of BBC Solent on Saints Player, where you can keep up to date with all the stats and scores from around the country.

Mauricio Pochettino spoke to Saints Player ahead of the game, and you can watch his interview and press conference in full now. You can also hear from former Eagle Nathaniel Clyne later today.

After the match there will be plenty more content on saintsfc.co.uk and Saints Player, so stay tuned!

And, if you’re coming to the game, don’t forget to take your smartphones and join in with #MarchingIn on our social media channels. Tweet us @SouthamptonFC or comment on our official Facebook page and upload images onto Instagram with the #MarchingIn for a chance to appear in our Matchday Magazine for the visit of Swansea City next weekend.

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