It’s 105 days since Bournemouth lost to Liverpool, while Crystal Palace made it three wins on the bounce with a 1-0 against Watford. Yet, form is now well and truly out the window. The 30th game of the Premier League season shouldn’t have the feeling of excitement that pre-season normally brings, yet it does. Excitement is rife, optimism is building – football is back, and the Vitality Stadium hosts two sides with points to prove for entirely different reasons.
Both With Points to Prove as Bournemouth Host Crystal Palace
Start as They Mean to Go On
When the first ball is kicked under the floodlights of the Vitality Stadium, it will feel as if nothing has changed. Starting on the right foot is a must, meaning an intriguing game lies ahead.
The hosts were in virtual disarray before the Coronavirus pandemic. Eddie Howe’s side had not won any of their last four games and had only two wins in the Premier League since the turn of the year.
Palace, meanwhile, virtually cemented their place in the Premier League for another season. Three 1-0 wins may not look appealing on paper, but it summed up Roy Hodgson’s tenure at Selhurst Park – getting the job done when it matters most.
As a result, the visitors essentially have nothing to play for. On paper, anyway. Despite the narrow gap, hopes of a Europa League push are merely hopes, with realism clouding the judgment of Palace fans alike. However, with an extra £2 million at stake per league position, there is always something to play for.
Head to Head Record
The two sides have been closely matched in their previous Premier League encounters.
Palace have won three of their nine encounters with the Cherries, with their most recent game coming last December. A well-taken goal by Jeffrey Schlupp sealed the three points for the Eagles, following an impressive performance with just ten men for a large portion of the game.
Bournemouth last defeated the Eagles in 2018, where a late penalty from Junior Stanislas earned Eddie Howe’s side the three points.
What Can Be Expected?
In the past, this fixture has promised plenty of goals. However, the short time for match fitness preparation means that players will still be getting up to scratch.
As a result, do not expect end-to-end action. Both sides will be patient with the ball, and at times it will look merely like a training match. Neither Roy Hodgson nor Eddie Howe would be disappointed with a draw.
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