Crystal Palace and Southampton get their 2020/21 Premier League seasons underway on Saturday at Selhurst Park. The Saints ended last season in 11th position after an unbeaten seven-game run, while Palace were 14th after losing seven in row.
A torrid end to the season saw Roy Hodgson’s side failed to win any of their last eight games. Palace lost seven in a row before halting that run with a 1-1 draw with Tottenham on the final day of the season. Palace have remembered how to win in pre-season as they recorded victories over Oxford United (2-1), Charlton (3-0) and Millwall (1-0) before being held 1-1 by Danish Superliga side Brondby. They do, however, start the Premier League campaign with question marks after the way they ended last season. Palace have signed Michy Batshuayi on loan for a second time with the Chelsea striker having scored five times during a spell at Selhurst Park in 2018/19. He joins new signings Eberechi Eze, captured from QPR, and free transfers Nathan Ferguson and Jake Giddings.
Eze is a doubt for Saturday’s opening game, while Ferguson, Christian Benteke, Gary Cahill, Mo Sakho, James Tomkins and Patrick van Aanholt are all out.
After a sticky spell in mid-season, Southampton really found their feet when the Premier League resumed. Saints were unbeaten in their last seven games and lost just once after the resumption. Danny Ings was Southampton’s key man, scoring 22 of the club’s 51 Premier League goals, and ended the season with seven goals in the nine games played after the EPL returned. Southampton won their only pre-season friendly when thumping Championship side Swansea City 7-1. Cedric Soares and Maya Yoshida have left to join Arsenal and Sampdoria respectively at the end of their contracts. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has been sold to Tottenham and Harrison Reed and Alfie Jones have departed for Fulham and Hull City. Saints have also allowed Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic) and Mario Lemina (Fulham) to leave on loan for the season. The two new faces are full-back Kyle Walker-Peters, who made his move from Tottenham permanent having spent the second half of last season on loan at St Mary’s, and Real Valladolid defender Mohammed Salisu.
Crystal Palace haven’t beaten Southampton for three seasons now. Saints are unbeaten in the last four heads to heads and won 2-0 at Selhurst Park in the most recent meeting. They were also victorious by the same scoreline the previous season, while the reverse fixtures in Southampton ended in 1-1 draws in the last two seasons. Palace’s form at the end of the season was nothing short of woeful and they start the season with a number of injury problems. Southampton are value to maintain their late season form this term.
PREDICTION : SOUTHAMPTON 0-2 WIN
ACCUMULATOR TIP : SOUTHAMPTON DOUBLE CHANCE
SINGLE TIP : AWAY WIN EITHER HALF