Southampton host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Tuesday with the certainty that they cannot be relegated (8:15 pm UK start time).
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men saw their Premier League safety confirmed on Monday when Fulham was beaten 2-0 by Burnley, rendering them unable to close the gap with those above them and sending them back to the Championship alongside West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United. So for both Southampton and Crystal Palace, now it’s about finishing the season on top.
Southampton vs Crystal Palace predicted XI:
Southampton will be hoping that Danny Ings can return from his thigh injury for the visit to Crystal Palace, while Alex McCarthy can start with Hasenhuttl frequently changing goalkeepers during the final weeks of the season.
Southampton: McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Stephens; Tella, Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Redmond; Adams, Ings.
Crystal Palace: Guaita; Ward, Kouyate, Cahill, Mitchell; Zaha, Schlupp, Milivojevic, Eze; Benteke, Ayew.
Why Palace should build its future around Eze
Although Crystal Palace football has been nothing to write home about, one of the reasons fans hope Roy Hodgson won’t renew his contract this summer is that they have had one of the most exciting players in the league. shining. Eberechi Eze joined Palace from Queens Park Rangers last summer, leaving the West London club after an excellent time in the championship, ready to take the next step in England’s top flight.
The 22-year-old hasn’t exactly ignited the Premier League but, with four goals and five assists, only Wilfried Zaha has been directly involved in more goals than Eze for Crystal Palace this season. Eze’s quality is there for those watching him closely, but he has been slightly hampered by the way Roy Hodgson sets up his side of Crystal Palace, with more emphasis on defense than attack.
As a result, Eze is not as creative as many would have hoped, averaging 1.2 chances created per 90 minutes for Crystal Palace in the Premier League compared to 1.6 in the Championship last season. He’s not making as many shots as he did in the Championship, either, averaging 1.1 per 90 minutes down from 2.3 last season.
However, when given the opportunity to run towards opponents with the ball, he thrives and it can be quite difficult to stop him once he gets going. Eze has averaged 2.3 matches per 90 minutes in the Premier League so far this season, ranking in the top 10 for those who have completed at least 50. And in that same group (more than 50 completed matches), only Jack Grealish, Adama Traore and Allan Saint-Maximin have won more fouls per 90 than Eze’s 2.57.
One of those dribbles over the weekend saw Eze prepare Christian Benteke for Crystal Palace’s opener in their 2-0 win over Sheffield United, an excellent performance from the 22-year-old who has once again seen him linked. with a departure from the club. .
However, Hodgson is confident that Crystal Palace will be able to keep their new star, who will only get better next season.
“It was a big investment for our club to pay 15 (million pounds) and then five (million pounds) in add-ons – it’s a pretty big investment for us,” he told reporters.
“I was not contemplating it being an investment that would only last one season and then move elsewhere, so I hope that’s not the case.
“I’m pretty sure the club will work very, very hard to make sure any interest in him is avoided because we bought him from the football club to play for us and to improve ourselves, we didn’t bring him to the club for a small profit. in a transfer at the end of the first season.
“It is his first season since he came out of the Championship and it is expected that people will need a little time to fully adjust to playing at this level, and we are delighted with him.”