After a five-game losing streak at the end of Dean Smith’s time in charge, a 2-0 win hosting Brighton was just the tonic Villa needed to kick off the Steven Gerrard era.
However, the Seagulls’ form had already been faltering after a blistering start to the season, with the latest result leaving Graham Potter’s men without a victory in eight games across all competitions, so their hosts here may represent a sterner challenge at present.
Palace are now unbeaten in seven appearances, including an impressive win over Man City, though they did draw five of these games as they’ve struggled to hold on to leads.
Indeed, the Eagles were ahead at some point or another in six of those games, including on two separate occasions in their last outing at Burnley.
Patrick Vieira’s men may only have won three of 12 league games overall this term, but by the same token, their only defeats have been inflicted away from home by genuine title challengers Chelsea and Liverpool.
Palace To Score First
The hosts are without James McArthur again as the midfielder is ruled out for several weeks owing to a hamstring issue, so Vieira will likely stick with the same team that took to the field at Burnley.
Odsonne Edouard remains a minor doubt and should have to settle for a place on the bench again, with either Jordan Ayew set to continue or alternatively Michael Olise getting another chance to impress alongside Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha.
Douglas Luiz has returned to full training to strengthen Gerrard’s midfield options, with Morgan Sanson pushing for a return as well, though Marvelous Nakamba, Jacob Ramsey and John McGinn will each be disappointed if they can’t keep hold of their places.
The same backline of Matt Target, Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa and Matty Cash are certain to start in front of Emi Martinez, as Gerrard’s biggest dilemma is his forward line.
Bertrand Traore is still struggling with a thigh complaint, while summer signings Danny Ings and Emi Buendia were both underwhelming last time out, so there could be an opportunity for Leon Bailey or even Ashley Young after the latter’s impressive cameo from the bench against Brighton.
Palace And Villa To Draw
This looks set to be a tight contest and it’s certainly true that Gerrard knows first and foremost how to shore up a defence. His title-winning season with Rangers was built upon a bedrock of defensive solidarity and they had drawn plenty of games this term before his departure.
His opening game with Brighton looked destined to end level as it drew towards the closing minutes, while Palace have certainly been no strangers to a stalemate under Vieira so far.
PALACE TO SCORE FIRST
PALACE AND VILLA TO DRAW
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