- Villa Park
- BBC One
- Crystal Palace have kept just one clean sheet in 14 Premier League games this season.
- Aston Villa have conceded 11 goals in their last five Premier League home games.
- Aston Villa beat Crystal Palace 2-0 when the teams last faced off in July.
- Crystal Palace have won just one of their last six Premier League fixtures.
Villa’s derby boost
Aston Villa avoided the hit from the fabled new manager bounce when they coasted to a 3-0 victory over Midlands rivals West Brom in Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge of the Baggies on Sunday.
The Villains’ triumph – which was their fifth in six Premier League away matches – was powered by a brace from Anwar El Ghazi and an effort from Bertrand Traore, but having proved their mettle on the road this term, Villa will need to start showing similar consistency at home to progress.
Dean Smith’s charges have toiled at Villa Park this term, and after a return of three defeats and a draw from their last four home assignments, a big improvement is needed against Crystal Palace.
Eagles torn to shreds
Crystal Palace meanwhile, will be licking their wounds following a harrowing 7-0 reverse to a rampant Liverpool at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
The Reds were ruthless visitors in Croydon against their former manager Roy Hodgson’s Palace, hitting the net seven times from just eight shots on target in total during their impressive showcase of finishing.
After their humiliating hammering, Palace’s record now reads just one win in six, and with their confidence dented, the Eagles need a big response at Villa Park.
Goals at both ends likely
Somewhat surprisingly, Aston Villa rank top of the pile in the Premier League for average attempts on goal per game this season (16.2) ahead of Man City and Liverpool, and while we expect the Villains’ creativity to reap dividends again against Palace, we’re also tipping the Eagles to land a blow at the opposite end.
With options to chose from including With Wilfried Zaha, Eberechi Eze, Jeffery Schlupp and Andros Townsend, Roy Hodgson has an array of counter-attacking weapons to wield, and Palace have the tools to test a Villa defence that has shipped 11 goals in their last five home matches this weekend.
Only bottom club Sheffield United have kept fewer clean sheets than Palace this season however, and the Eagles’ opening day shutout Southampton remains their only blank in 14 games overall since the summer.
With lax defensive work prevalent on either side of the dividing line, backing both teams to score on Saturday looks a cracking option at the prices quoted, though our correct score prediction suggests the Villains can follow their WBA victory up with another against Palace.
Crystal Palace’s self-belief is certain to have taken a real pounding after their evisceration at the hands of Liverpool, and having conceded exactly two goals on their last visit to Villa Park in July, we’re tipping the Eagles to come unstuck again in a 2-1 defeat.
Aston Villa injuries and team news
Ross Barkley looks set to return to the Villa squad on Boxing Day, though he might have to settle for place on the bench initially.
Bertrand Traore and Anwar El Ghazi should retain their places however following excellent performances against West Brom.
Crystal Palace injuries and team news
Crystal Palace have Belgian striker Christian Benteke back from suspension, though Connor Wickham, Martin Kelly, Wayne Hennessy, Nathan Ferguson and Mamadou Sakho all remain sidelined for the Eagles.
- 18 Jun