Match Preview: Norwich City vs Crystal Palace

By - Friday 29th November, 2013

With form on the up, Matt Woosnam is optimistic for Palace’s chances this weekend

Crystal Palace travel to Carrow Road on Saturday on the back of a morale boosting victory over Hull City last weekend that moved them off the foot of the Premier League table; and the Eagles will be hoping for a similar result against injury plagued Norwich City.

The Eagles have a new man at the helm after the appointment of Tony Pulis last week, and he will be looking to continue the improved form shown by the team under the tutelage of Keith Millen as caretaker manager. A credible draw with Everton was followed by a victory at Hull, with both games showing an increasing resilience in the Palace side. Millen appears to have galvanised a squad desperately lacking in confidence and spirit, and as much is evidenced by the positive comments a number of players have made to the media. Whether Pulis will be able to build on this is unclear, but Millen has certainly steadied the ship.

New manager Tony Pulis leads the team for the first time. Photo by StaffsLive, used under Creative Commons.

Palace will be without winger Yannick Bolasie who had his red card for a lunge on Jake Livermore upheld by the FA and begins a three match ban. In line to replace him may be Jerome Thomas who impressed in the goalless draw against Everton prior to the international break; but missed out at the KC Stadium after failing a late fitness test.

Adlene Guedioura, Glenn Murray and Jack Hunt all remain long term absentees but the better news for Palace is that Welsh maestro Jonathan Williams may once again be named on the bench after recovering from the ankle injury he picked up on international duty.

Included in the matchday squad is youngster Sullay KaiKai. The winger has a great eye for goal and demonstrated this with a superb hat-trick against Tottenham U21s last week, as Palace ran out 3-2 victors. Should he make the bench and even be given his debut then Palace fans should expect to see someone who likes to keep the ball moving but isn’t afraid to take on his man with a burst of pace, while any set pieces in dangerous areas will surely take the 18-year-old’s fancy. KaiKai already has a professional contract with the club, signing a 2 and a half year deal in Christmas 2012.

Pulis is likely to name an unchanged back four for the trip to East Anglia, but Cameron Jerome’s performance  on Saturday will provide him with something to think about if Marouane Chamakh is able to play following a head injury which forced him off. It is unlikely that both strikers will be named in the starting eleven, and with Dwight Gayle aiming for another Premier League start Pulis will have to choose between Chamakh and the man he fell out with at Stoke.

Norwich have a significant injury list themselves and were dealt a further blow with the news that both Robert Snodgrass and Anthony Pilkington face significant lay-offs. The Canaries were already without striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel, midfielder Alex Tettey and winger Elliott Bennett so the news that two instrumental players will be missing is a huge blow, but a boost to Palace.

Following their defeat to Newcastle, Norwich occupy 16th position, only four points above the Eagles in the Premier League, and Palace will be hoping to close that gap even further with a victory at Carrow Road. The previous two meetings in East Anglia have resulted in 2-1 victories to the visitors but will there be a repeat of this on Saturday?

Norwich City 0-1 Crystal Palace

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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