Crystal Palace return to Premier League action on Saturday, welcoming Watford to Selhurst Park. 

After advancing to the fourth round of the FA Cup thanks to a late Jordan Ayew goal that gave his side a 1-0 win over Grimsby Town, the Eagles will be hoping to further distance themselves from the relegation zone.

The gap between Palace and Southampton in 18th is currently six points, with Roy Hodgson’s side having won three of their last five Premier League matches. 

Ahead of Saturday’s clash, we take a look at the lineup Hodgson is likely to field. 

1. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Vicente Guaita (GK) – Palace have been impressive defensively so far this season, ranking seventh in the Premier League’s best defences. Since making his debut for the club in December, the Eagles defence has only conceded three goals in their last five games.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – The young Englishman has been a revelation at right-back position so far this season. He is one of three players in the league to make over 70 tackles so far this season. Wan-Bissaka will hope that his good performances so far in 2018/19 can earn him an England spot in the future having impressed for the Under-20 and Under-21 sides. 

James Tomkins (CB) – Tomkins will have his hands full on Saturday up against the physical presence of the in-form Troy Deeney. The veteran centre-half, who represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, will need to use his vast experience to stop the robust and energetic Deeney from impacting the game. 

Mamadou Sakho (CB) – Nearing 50 appearances for the Eagles since his switch from Liverpool in January 2017, Sakho has become a hugely important figure at the club. 

Patrick van Aanholt (LB) – The rapid Dutch full-back will be key to Palace’s attacking threat, as they have struggled to break down Cardiff and Grismby in recent home games despite dominating the ball. 

2. Midfielders

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Cheikhou Kouyaté (CM) – The Senegalese international captain will be wary of the attacking threat posed by tricky Argentine winger Roberto Pereyra. As a result, Kouyaté must ensure that he does not leave any space behind his back four for Pereyra and others to run into. 

Luka Milivojević (CDM) – Milivojević, who is Palace’s leading scorer in the league with six goals, has become something of a penalty-taking specialist at Selhurst Park. This is demonstrated by the fact that an astonishing 14 of his 18 Premier League goals (77.7%) have come from the penalty spot.

James McArthur (CM) – McArthur has been a regularin the Eagles starting XI for the past four seasons. A tireless worker both on and off the ball, the Scotsman’s work-ethic constantly serves as an example to his teammates on the pitch. 

3. Forwards

Wilfried Zaha

Andros Townsend (RW) – Townsend set the bar high for goal of the season with his phenomenal strike against Manchester City last month. The former Tottenham man may have a similar impact this weekend, as his opposite number José Holebas often leaves space when venturing forward from left-back.

Jordan Ayew (ST) – After a poor start to the season, Ayew has scored in each of his last two games to earn Palace crucial wins over Wolves and Grimsby. With Christian Benteke still injured and Alexander Sørloth sent on loan to Gent until the end of the season, Ayew has a chance to make the starting striker’s spot his own. 

Wilfried Zaha (LW) – The talismanic Zaha has only scored once in the league for the Eagles since he netted in the reverse fixture in August. Although his goal drought is largely due to the attention he attracts from opposition defenders, a player of his quality will always want to be scoring goals.  


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