Crystal Palace are back in action this afternoon, as they travel to take on Premier League rivals Aston Villa in their penultimate game of the year on Boxing Day.
Roy Hodgson is expected to ring wholesale changes after his side suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of league leaders Liverpool at home last time out.
Hodgson has confirmed that Gary Cahill has been ruled out of the clash with Villa due to injury, although he will be boosted by the return of Christian Benteke, who has served a one-match ban after being sent off during the draw with West Ham United.
Despite shipping seven goals against Jurgen Klopp’s side, Vicente Guiata will keep his place in goal, which means Jack Butland will be forced to settle for a place on the bench once again.
However, it’s hard to imagine Hodgson will stick with the same back four after an abysmal display by all accounts, so Joel Ward should be back at right-back today, whilst the same can be said for Tyrick Mitchell, who comes back in for Patrick van Aanholt.
Cahill’s injury has somewhat forced his hand, as Mamadou Sakho seems destined for the Selhurst Park exit, with Scott Dann expected to step up in Cahill’s enforced absence.
Jairo Riedewald has yet to start for the first team since the 1-0 defeat to Burnley back in November, but we reckon he will be back in today at the expense of James McArthur, joining club captain Luka Milivojevic in the Palace engine room.
Not that we’d like to admit it, but Palace have by and large been unable to cope without Benteke, who should be back this afternoon.
This means that Jordan Ayew will have to drop to the bench to make room for the Belgian striker, who has scored three goals in his past three games in the Premier League, via Transfermarkt.