It’s back to St Mary’s following a successful trip to the capital on Boxing Day, with Crystal Palace the visitors in the Premier League. Prepare yourself for today’s return home with our Match Pack, in association with eToro…
Southampton vs Crystal Palace
St Mary’s Stadium
Saturday 28th December, 3.00pm GMT
Referee: Andy Madley
Assistants: Dan Robathan, Simon Beck
Fourth official: Darren Bond
VAR: Andre Marriner
Assistant VAR: Matthew Wilkes
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
It’s very much a case of carrying on the momentum for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men, who are looking for a third consecutive win for the first time this season.
A win at home against a consistent Crystal Palace side would see Saints draw level on points with the likes of Arsenal and Burnley if other results go their way, rising to as high as 11th in the league.
Palace will similarly be looking to build on a recent positive result; their late win at home over West Ham was only their second of the month.
A win for Roy Hodgson’s side would see them pushing the top six, and only three points off a Europa League place as things stand.
Scorer of the first goal, Michael Obafemi, won’t be risked for Saturday due to his recent injury record and the short turn around of games, confirmed manager Hasenhüttl.
Danny Ings could make a return to the starting eleven after being a late substitute at Chelsea, whilst Sofiane Boufal is an option if needed after recovering from a toe injury.
Meanwhile Palace manager Hodgson may have to rotate his squad from the win over West Ham, with injuries continuing to be a problem for his side.
Patrick van Aanholt’s hamstring problem continues to see him out, meaning Jairo Riedewald, who has been suffering with illness himself, may have to fill in at left-back.
Andros Townsend also remains out meaning Hodgson will have to choose between James McCarthy and May Meyer as his right-wing replacement.
Chelsea (a) 0-2 (Obafemi, Redmond)
Aston Villa (a) 1-3 (Ings x2, Stephens)
West Ham (h) 0-1
Newcastle (a) 2-1 (Ings)
Norwich (h) 2-1 (Ings, Bertrand)
West Ham (h) 2-1 (Kouyaté, Ayew)
Newcastle (a) 1-0
Brighton (h) 1-1 (Zaha)
Watford (a) 0-0
Bournemouth (h) 1-0 (Schlupp)
Ralph Hasenhüttl: "We play at home now and we must carry our game on the pitch, and this is what we try from the first moment, but it will not be a game where after ten minutes it is 3-0 for us. That will not happen. We will try to have a good start, but we have to have patience.
"I think it's important for us that we have showed up in these last two games, two fantastic wins, so we come with good self-confidence in our stands and St Mary's must come back to a ground where it is tough to get points. We want to do our part, and the crowd must do their part."
Roy Hodgson: “I think they’re [Southampton] a good team, with good players and organised and they’re not a team you expect to see in and around the relegation zone if I’m going to be honest.
“It’s not a major surprise to me but I take my hat off to them and congratulate them on this run of games which has moved them higher up the table.”
ONES TO WATCH
Stuart Armstrong: Somewhat of an unsung hero in Saints’ recent success, the upturn in form for Hasenhüttl’s side alongside Armstrong’s return to the team has come at no coincidence.
Proving to be the key man in midfield, Armstrong has provided the vital link between defence and attack; something Saints fans have been crying out for.
His delightful deflected assist for Nathan Redmond’s second at Chelsea on Boxing Day typifying the Scot’s form as of late.
Jordan Ayew: It’s being described as the goal-of-the-season already; Ayew’s stunning late-winner at home to West Ham on Boxing Day has meant the Ghanaian has received many plaudits.
His mixture of pace and agility prove him to be a nightmare for defenders, something Saints will have to look out for in Crystal Palace’s top goal scorer this season.
Danny Ings 13
James Ward-Prowse 4
Moussa Djenepo 2
James Ward-Prowse 4
Danny Ings 3
Sofiane Boufal 3
Jordan Ayew 5
Wilfried Zaha – 3
Luka Milivojević – 2
James McArthur – 2
Jordan Ayew – 1
Wilfried Zaha – 1
HEAD TO HEAD
Played – 108
Saints – 46
Draws – 23
Palace – 39
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
January 2019: Saints 1-1 Palace (Ward-Prowse)
September 2018: Palace 0-2 Saints (Ings, Hojgjerg)
January 2018: Saints 1-2 Palace (Long)
September 2017: Palace 0-1 Saints (Davis)
April 2017: Saints 3-1 Palace (Redmond, Yoshida, Ward-Prowse)
DID YOU KNOW?
- Saints have won 60% of their meetings in the Premier League with Crystal Palace (12/20), their highest win rate against any opponent they’ve faced more than ten times in the competition.
- Jordan Ayew’s five Premier League goals this season have been worth nine points to Crystal Palace; only two players have had more valuable goals in a single Premier League campaign for the Eagles (Andrew Johnson and Christian Benteke)
NOT AT THE GAME?
Unable to make the return to St Mary’s on Saturday? We have you covered! Across our channels we’ll bring you all the action, as well as a host of behind-the-scenes access.
Check out our interactive match centre at southamptonfc.com, with all of the live in-game updates and free audio commentary of the match, and be sure to follow us on social media for further updates and exclusive content: