Crystal Palace and West Ham United return to Premier League action at Selhurst Park in New Year's Day's late kick-off.
Crystal Palace earned a point in a 2-2 draw at the London Stadium earlier in the season (August 28), with playmaker Conor Gallagher canceling out West Ham's lead twice.
Crystal Palace Betting Preview (+225 @ BetOnline)
Having lost just one of their 10 Premier League games at Selhurst Park this season (4-5-1 record), The Eagles will be hoping to kick off 2022 in style with a good performance in front of the home crowd.
Patrick Vieira's side claimed a comfortable 3-0 win over rock-bottom Norwich City last time out and now sit 11th in the table on 23 points.
Crystal Palace have had to deal with a series of injuries, suspensions and illnesses in their squad over the Christmas period but could welcome back some players for this London derby. Even boss Patrick Vieira himself tested positive for coronavirus and had to recover, but he's already fine and is waiting to come out of isolation.
Odsonne Édouard, who played a direct hand in all three of Palace's goals against Norwich City in midweek (one goal and two assists), is expected to lead the line, flanked by Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha.
Captain Luka Milivojevic and Belgian forward Christian Benteke both returned to the matchday squad in midweek, though either of them may have to settle for a place on the bench at Selhurst Park.
Jean-Philippe Mateta started against The Hornets and he scored his first goal of the season, but the French forward will likely make way for Wilfried Zaha on Saturday.
Indeed, influential attacker Wilfried Zaha is set to return from suspension in what will be his final game before the Ivory Coast international leaves for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations. He will be joined by the likes of Jeffrey Schlupp, Cheikhou Kouyate, and Jordan Ayew who will also join their national teams.
Conor Gallagher missed out altogether against Watford amid rumors of him testing positive for COVID-19 and his availability remains unclear in what could be a big blow to Crystal Palace's game plan.
West Ham United Betting Preview (+130 @ BetOnline)
Having won just one of their last six meetings against Crystal Palace, West Ham United will try to initiate a winning streak on New Year's Day. The Hammers ended a five-game winless run across all competitions when they hammered Watford 4-1 at Vicarage Road a few days ago.
After an impressive 3-2 comeback win over London rivals Chelsea in early-December, David Moyes' side suffered back-to-back defeats in their next two capital derbies against Arsenal (2-0 in the league) and Tottenham in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals. Moreover, West Ham's struggle continued when David Moyes' side suffered a disappointing 3-2 home defeat to Southampton on Boxing Day, even though Michail Antonio finally ended his long-lasting goal drought in that game.
However, despite the poor form over the past couple of weeks, The Hammers are still four points behind Arsenal in fourth and will be looking to maintain consistency in the next matches.
Pablo Fornals, who opened the scoring in the 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace earlier in the season, wasn't included in the matchday squad at Watford, which leads to doubts over the Spaniard's availability for the coming weekend.
Aaron Cresswell's return from a back injury is taking longer than first thought as the left-back joined the likes of Angelo Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma on the sidelines, who are all expected to miss out once again for the East London outfit.
Declan Rice served his one-game suspension as the England midfielder should regain his starting spot in the middle of the park, though veteran-skipper Mark Noble scored against Watford in midweek.
With Rice suspended against Watford, Moyes opted for the experience of captain Mark Noble (his first Premier League start since April) over summer signing Alex Kral. Thus, Noble's presence in the heart of midfield allowed Soucek a more attacking element and the Czech produced one of the most impressive performances in that game, along with Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma.
Croatia international Nikola Vlasic scored his first goal for West Ham coming on as a late substitute at Watford and will hope to get more first team minutes under his belt.
Possible Starting Lineups of Crystal Palace and West Ham United
Crystal Palace: Vicente Guaita – Joel Ward, Joachim Andersen, Marc Guehi, Tyrick Mitchell – Will Hughes, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Jeffrey Schlupp – Jordan Ayew, Odsonne Édouard, Wilfried Zaha. (4-3-3)
West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski – Vladimir Coufal, Craig Dawson, Issa Diop, Arthur Masuaku – Tomas Soucek, Declan Rice – Jarrod Bowen, Manuel Lanzini, Said Benrahma – Michail Antonio. (4-2-3-1)
Spooky Express Betting Prediction
Both sides have scored in each of the last 9 meetings between them
and we expect a high-scoring affair at Selhurst Park.