Match Preview: Crystal Palace vs Stoke City

By - Friday 17th January, 2014

Next up for Crystal Palace is a winnable game at home to manager Tony Pulis’ former club Stoke City

Photo by David Pinkney, used under Creative Commons.

After a superb opening half an hour at White Hart Lane, Palace eventually succumbed to a 2-0 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday; and attention will now turn to Saturday’s match at home to Tony Pulis’ former side, Stoke City.

Palace will be hoping that the Potters, who sit twelfth in the Premier League, five points ahead of the Eagles, will be delayed in their attempts to sign Manchester City striker John Guidetti on loan. With Cameron Jerome ineligible to face his parent club, Dwight Gayle will hope to get the nod as Marouane Chamakh’s strike partner, but Pulis has not proven keen to deploy the club’s record signing in previous matches.

The last time the two sides met was at the Brittania Stadium in August, with the home team coming out 2-1 victors with two second half goals following Chamakh’s first half opener. Palace narrowly edge the victories in the 50 contests between the teams; the Eagles have won 20, compared to Stoke’s 18. Nonetheless, the Potters were victorious in five of the last seven meetings; including the FA Cup third round last season.

Despite Palace’s improved performances over the festive period; they remain rooted at the bottom of the Premier League table and Pulis must act swiftly to rectify the problems which have blighted the Eagles lately; most notably an inability to capitalise on their chances. Jason Puncheon take note. With Chamakh deployed just behind the main striker, and Jerome ineligible this could prove the perfect time for Pulis to test the partnership of Gayle and Chamakh.

A draw seems the more likely outcome, but that is not much use to Palace

Indeed, Gayle has taken his chances when presented with the opportunity; a superb winner at Aston Villa on Boxing Day and a well taken goal against West Brom in the FA Cup showed that the striker is beginning to adapt properly to the tests of the Premier League, and experience is the best way to improve his game; which could be vital for the run in after January’s transfer window slams shut.

The good news for Palace is that Paddy McCarthy completed another 70 minutes of action in the development squad on Monday night, his second match without any problems. Jose Campana and Sullay KaiKai impressed for the young Eagles side despite the 2-1 defeat at Cardiff, with KaiKai notching an impressive eighth goal in eleven matches. Could a call up to the substitutes’ bench be on the cards?

There are no further injury concerns for Palace, and Adlene Guedioura made his comeback from injury at Spurs, so could be in line for another cameo performance; or perhaps even a start, although it may be too soon for that.

Stoke managed to put three goals past Liverpool at the weekend, although they conceded five in the process, but Palace need to be sharp at the back to stop the Potters’ strikeforce, and clever in attack to find a way past their defence.

The match is at Selhurst Park where the Eagles will hope to have a raucous crowd spur them on to an important victory; with the hope that Pulis will know all there is to know about his former players to give Palace the edge. A draw seems the more likely outcome, but that is not much use to Palace.

Crystal Palace 1-1 Stoke City

Matt Woosnam

Matt Woosnam

Matt Woosnam is a Kingston University student in his final year as a Politics & International Relations undergraduate. A campaigner on mental health he is the founder of @Talk_Out, as well as part of the TalkEasyTrust, and seeks to break down stigma by encouraging talking out. Matt is also an avid Crystal Palace fan and the online editor of Five Year Plan Fanzine, as well as a regular contributor to the Croydon Guardian.

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