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Another season in the Premier League would have been the aim for both these sides at the start of the campaign, and ultimately the respective boards will be happy with what their managers have accomplished.
Roy Hodgson is perhaps the more uncertain of the two managers, with Palace losing to Southampton 3-1 at the start of the week, but he’s given the club some solidarity in the league since arriving in 2017, and given the current financial climate, they’d be wise to try and keep hold of him.
Other than a 2-0 victory over rock-bottom Sheffield Utd, the Eagles have earned just one point from their other five encounters since the start of last month, though four of those games came against teams currently sitting in the top eight.
Aston Villa, on the other hand, haven’t had too much success of their own but they probably ended Everton’s small hopes of Champions League football for next season on Thursday night with that goalless draw.
Villa’s own hopes of European football, look fairly far-fetched too with a seven point gap to make up in the final three games of the campaign.
Draw And Under 2.5 Goals
If we look at how Hodgson’s men have done this against the three teams immediately above them in the table; Wolves, Villa and Leeds, it makes for interesting reading. They may have lost to nil in all three of their trips to those sides, but back at Selhurst Park, they’ve won both games against Leeds (4-1) and Wolves (1-0).
Furthermore, excluding their most recent visits from both Champions League finalists Man City and Chelsea, they’ve kept clean sheets in all three home encounters dating back to mid-February, although they did only net one of their own.
The Villains have seen a maximum of just two goals in six of their last eight fixtures against the teams outside the top nine in the table, going W1-D3-L1 across the last five of those.
Moreover, visiting those teams, all the last five has seen fewer than three strikes and a maximum of one goal in four.
Although the likes of Ollie Watkins will be returning and potentially Jack Grealish too for the visitors, we still think this has ‘Unders’ written all over it.