Crystal Palace play host to London rivals Fulham at Selhurst Park this afternoon looking to build on their win over Brighton and Hove Albion in the A23 derby.
It’s been a turbulent few weeks for Roy Hodgson’s side after a mixed bag of results, with unexpected victories and draws followed by a string of disappointing performances and results.
However, although a change in formation paid dividends against the Seagulls in terms of the result, it’s most likely the Palace boss will revert back to his preferred 4-4-2 formation to face-off against Fulham as Palace were lucky to win that game.
Hodgson’s number one, Vicente Guiata, has arguably been one of Palace’s better players this season and performed admirably against Brighton, so will start again this afternoon behind a back four consisting of Gary Cahill, Scott Dann, Tyrick Mitchell and Joel Ward.
Cahill has become something of an undisputed starter for Palace at the back, so he should keep his place next to Mitchell, who linked up nicely with Eberechi Eze down the left and should do the same again today.
Elsewhere, Dann could come in for Cheikhou Kouyate in the only change to the back four, with Joel Ward set to start out at right-back in the absence of the injured Nathaniel Clyne.
Palace’s unchanged midfield didn’t perform very well against Brighton, so we expect Hodgson to make changes here. James McCarthy could come back into the side with Luka Milivojevic dropping to the bench. This will leave Jairo Riedewald as the only survivor in the midfield pairing from the win at the start of the week.
Following his first goal for the club, Jean-Philippe Mateta is expected to keep his place in the starting line-up, while Christian Benteke could also come back into the side, with Hodgson electing to start two recognised strikers against Scott Parker’s side, which means Jordan Ayew will be given a rest.