Date/time: 2/1/2018, 19:45 (UK), 14:45 ET, 11:45 PT (USA)
Venue: St. Mary’s Stadium, Southampton, UK
TV: None (UK), NBC Sports Gold (USA) and check out LiveSoccerTV for alternatives.
Streaming: None (UK), NBCSN (USA)
Radio: BBC Radio Solent (UK)
Happy New Year, Southampton fans!
First up for Mauricio Pellegrino’s Saints in 2018 is Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace, who have enjoyed a resurgence up the league table to get out of the relegation zone upon the former England manager’s appointment.
Saints are expected to stick with back-up goalkeeper Alex McCarthy in goal after keeping a clean sheet against Manchester United days ago, with Fraser Forster resigned to the substitute’s bench.
Pellegrino is also hopeful of the fitness of Ryan Bertrand, who has missed the last few games due to a hamstring injury. However, striker Charlie Austin is suspended and remains injured from Saints’ pre-Christmas draw against Huddersfield Town.
Crystal Palace are waiting on late fitness tests from three key players in Ruben Loftus-Cheek, James McArthur and Jeffrey Schlupp, all of whom could appear tonight.
But former Saints midfielder Jason Puncheon, as well as defender Scott Dann, are both expected to miss out.
Stats Zone (via BBC Sport):
- Southampton have won seven and drawn the other of their eight Premier League home matches against Crystal Palace. It is Southampton's longest unbeaten home run against another Premier League side.
- Palace's only top-flight win at Southampton in 17 attempts came in November 1990 when Ian Wright scored twice in a 3-2 victory at The Dell (D3, L13).
- The reverse fixture this season was Roy Hodgson's first match as Crystal Palace manager. Southampton won 1-0 on 16 September with a goal by Steven Davis.
- Southampton could remain winless in nine consecutive Premier League matches for the first time since a run of 10 from November 2004 to January 2005.
- Their goalless draw at Old Trafford was the 16th time in Southampton's last 33 competitive games that they failed to score.
- Southampton's only home league win in five attempts was November's 5-1 victory over Everton.
- Saints have kept only two clean sheets at home this season, against strugglers Swansea and West Brom.
- They have won their opening Premier League match of the calendar year in only one of the last five seasons: a 2-0 home victory against Arsenal on New Year's Day 2015.
- Mauricio Pellegrino has won just four of his 21 Premier League games as Southampton manager (19%).
- Crystal Palace have only lost one of their last 10 Premier League games, having been beaten in 13 of their previous 16.
- Palace could equal the club Premier League record of five consecutive away matches unbeaten, set from December 2014 to February 2015.
- Roy Hodgson's side have kept four clean sheets in eight Premier League games, as many as they had managed in their previous 25 matches.
- The Eagles' only away win in 2017-18 was last month's 3-0 victory at Leicester.
- Palace have not won their opening top-flight match of the year since 1992, when they beat Notts County 1-0 at home on New Year's Day.
- Christian Benteke has scored five goals in his last six Premier League games against Southampton.
Bet 365: Southampton: 21/20 - Draw: 12/5 - Crystal Palace: 31/10
Bet Victor: Southampton: 21/20 - Draw: 5/2 - Crystal Palace: 3/1
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