Apr 12, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT
Both sides claim to be safe from the relegation fight, but both Crystal Palace and Aston Villa would love to emerge from Selhurst Park clutching all three points (Watch live at 10:07 a.m. ET online via Live Extra).
Villa and Palace are each on 34 points after having played 32 matches. It’s the visitors that are having a tougher time of it at the moment, however. Since beating Chelsea a month ago, Villa have lost three in a row, by a combined score of 10-3. The Villa even managed to lose 2-1 to Fulham last weekend, giving the Cottagers an immense boost in their fight for safety.
Tony Pulis, meanwhile, is proving his worth as a manager that never lets his side get relegated. Now in 14th, seven points clear of the drop, Palace are looking like a side that will still be in the Premier League next year. They’re helped by losing just one of their last four – and still bolstered by beating Chelsea two weeks back.
Paul Lambert makes four changes to the side that lost to Fulham last weekend. Although Christian Benteke will remain sidelined until next season, the Villa manager is thrilled to have Gabby Agbonlahor, Fabian Delph and Karim El Ahmadi back to start. The other change is Ciaran Clark in to help in defense, with Lambert changing from a 4-3-3 to a fluid 3-5-2/5-3-2 against Palace.
It’s an unchanged team for Palace, with Pulis deciding that if the lineup is good enough for an emphatic win at Cardiff, it’s certainly good enough for a home victory against Aston Villa. The manager will be looking for Jason Puncheon to create another big punch, with the attacker netting twice last weekend.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Bolasie, Puncheon, Ledley, Jerome
Subs: Hennessey, Gabbidon, Parr, Ince, Gayle, Murray, Chamakh
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Clark, Bertrand, Westwood, Delph, El Ahmadi, Agbonlahor, Holt
Subs: Bennett, Weimann, Albrighton, Sylla, Bowery, Tonev, Steer
- Russia, Vladimir Putin criticize US government for “illegal persecution” of FIFA 0
- FIFA ethics committee bans 11 current, former officials from all football-related activities 3
- UEFA calls for postponement of FIFA presidential election, threatens to boycott congress 5
- FIFA president Sepp Blatter releases first statement since overnight arrests 11
- Three things we learned from the US Department of Justice news conference on the FIFA investigation 6
- FIFA presidential elections will go on Friday despite arrests 6