PREVIEW: Crystal Palace vs Southampton

By SFC Media time Wed 24 Dec Men's First team provides you with the lowdown ahead of Southampton's Barclays Premier League clash with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Boxing Day. (Kick-off 3pm GMT).

After returning to winning ways thanks to a 3-0 victory against Everton at St Mary’s on Saturday, Southampton will be looking to make it back-to-back wins with all three points against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Boxing Day.

After six games without a win, it was a welcome victory for Ronald Koeman’s side, as Graziano Pellè, Maya Yoshida and an own goal from Romelu Lukaku sealed a 3-0 win against the Toffees to ensure Saints would spend Christmas Day in fifth.

Crystal Palace were also involved in a 3-0 scoreline, as Neil Warnock’s side lost to champions Manchester City at the Etihad. Two goals from David Silva and a third from Yaya Toure sealed the Eagles’ fate.

The defeat left Palace in 17th place in the Premier League with 15 points from their opening 17 games, with just goal difference separating them and Burnley, who occupy the final relegation spot.

Ronald Koeman will welcome back Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama after they served their one-game suspensions in the win against Everton, but Saints will be without José Fonte, who was shown his fifth yellow card of the season in Saturday’s win. Dušan Tadić was back in training for Saints on Tuesday.

Palace will be without striker Marouane Chamakh through injury, but otherwise have a fully-fit squad for the game against Saints.

There was major disruption at the start of Crystal Palace’s campaign as Tony Pulis, who had guided them to a very respectable 11th-placed finish last season, left the club.

Keith Millen took caretaker charge until the appointment of Neil Warnock, who returned for his second spell in charge of the club on 27th August, 2014. His second stint began with four games unbeaten in the Premier League before a 2-0 defeat away to Hull City.

Since that defeat, Palace have won just once – a 3-1 home success against Liverpool in November, losing five and drawing four of their other fixtures. At home, they have won just twice this season; against Liverpool and Leicester City, with their previous home game ending in a 1-1 draw with Stoke City.

Their recent form has seen them drop to 17th in the Premier League table, with just goal difference keeping them outside of the relegation places. The form of Yannick Bolasie has been a real plus-point for Warnock, with the winger providing one goal and three assists so far in the Premier League.

Ronald Koeman: “I saw a little bit of the Manchester City game and they [Crystal Palace] defended well. City showed their individual qualities but it is difficult to beat them because they are physically strong. In set pieces maybe they are the strongest team in the league. We have to be well concentrated to have a good result.”

Neil Warnock: "It's a wonderful period of games, especially for the fans. We've not had a home Boxing Day game for a few years and the lads are up for it. Ronald Koeman has done a great job coming to the Premier League and I'm looking forward to going up against him and Southampton on Friday."

Mike Dean will be the man in charge of Friday’s clash at Selhurst Park. The 46 year-old has been a Premier League referee since 2000, and up until 2013 was a FIFA listed official.

Dean has taken charge of 15 games so far this season, showing 69 yellow cards and five reds in total. His one Southampton this campaign was the 3-1 win against West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground back in August.

His last Premier League game was West Brom’s 1-0 home win against Aston Villa, in which he showed six yellow cards and on red.

If you aren’t able to make it to the game at Selhurst Park, then don’t forget to follow the club’s official channels on social media, with full updates on Twitter and goal updates on Facebook.

You can also listen to commentary by subscribing to Saints Player, while there will also be a live blog running on throughout the game.

Stay tuned to the official website and the club’s YouTube channel for reaction to the game.

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