Eye On The Opposition: Crystal Palace vs Bournemouth (9/12/2017)

Written by Jack Pierce

Dear Santa,

A win against Bournemouth, please.

Cheers.

Palace fans.

That's about right, isn't it?

What we'd do for a couple of wins from the two home fixtures that come so close together this week. It's reminiscent of those Saturday/Tuesday fixtures that occur so frequently in The Championship and should Palace take six points by the time the full time whistle is blown on Tuesday, we'll know what Roy asked for Christmas.

First up for Palace are Bournemouth. Eddie Howe's lot are by no means Premier League novices any longer as this is their third season in the top flight and for the first time since promotion, there are questions being asked of the club's highly rated manager.

The Cherries, like Palace although not to our extent, suffered a terrible start to the season and have done well to recover to a position outside of the bottom three. Currently 15th and four points above our lot, who currently occupy the final spot in the drop zone, Howe will have stressed to his team this week how important it will be to avoid defeat at Selhurst Park given the two teams' current league positions. A Bournemouth win will also take the pressure off as they embark upon a run of fixtures including trips to Old Trafford and The Etihad as well as welcoming Liverpool to The Vitality.

During last summer, Bournemouth spent a fair whack which once again dispelled the myth of there being anything especially plucky about the Dorset club. Asmir Begovic and Nathan Ake were both bought for substantial sums and Jermain Defoe was signed on a free transfer but on a very lucrative three year deal; somewhat surprising when you take his age into consideration. It's not the first time that Bournemouth approach to incomings has been questioned.

There is little to no chance of the Bournemouth board looking to wave Howe on his way but when you see the likes of £15 million Jordon Ibe being brought on for 15/20 minutes with little or no impact, Howe's ability to use the transfer market effectively and efficiently will be assessed as far from top grade. It could well be the difference between he being offered a big job that so many insist will be put his way in coming seasons.

Issue 50 of FYP on save vs Bournemouth with exclusive Julian Speroni interview!

Palace are yet to beat Bournemouth at Selhurst in the Premier League and those in attendance will be hoping its third time lucky after one defeat and a draw courtesy of Scott Dann's injury time equaliser last August.

Not sure we should rely on the last minute goal this time around having played that card so recently.

Key players

Nathan Ake

Signed on the basis of how well he performed for The Cherries during his loan spell at the club last season, the Dutch defender is returning to the type of form that encouraged Eddie Howe to ask the club to sign a £20 million cheque.

Comfortable at the heart of the defence or as the deep lying central midfielder, the Chelsea academy graduate offers his manager some flexibility. That said, centre of defence is where his immediate future lies with either Simon Francis or Steve Cook his partner.

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Junior Stanislas

The winger sometimes goes under the radar. Bought to the club before promotion, the former West Ham man has proved a valuable asset for his manager and proved that his former club were perhaps a little too hasty in letting him leave so young.

Happy to take his opposing full back down the line or inside on to his left foot, Stanislas will offer a regular threat to the Palace backline should he be in decent form come 3pm on Saturday.

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Jermain Defoe

A striker, who if Sam Allardyce remained Palace manager could well have been playing in red and blue this weekend, has struggled to get his second spell at Bournemouth going. A fan's favourite from a very productive loan spell 17 years ago, Defoe has only grabbed the one goal for The Cherries so far this season since being brought back to the club in the summer.

A striker who when given a chance has proven throughout his career he's more than likely to take it, Defoe will need looking after on Saturday.

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