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January 20 2021 8.27pm

Key clashes: Palace v Southampton

August 30 2018

Mamadou Sakho

Mamadou Sakho

As Crystal Palace host Southampton, Hunter Young analyses the big player battles in this Premier League match-up.

On the back of a two-game losing streak, the most recent being a disappointing away loss to Watford, Palace will return to Selhurst Park to take on struggling Southampton.

The Saints have endured a rough start with one point from their first three games and both teams will be looking to kick-start their season and go into the international break with a win.

Mamadou Sakho v Danny Ings

After Danny Ings' move from Liverpool to Southampton, he will be attempting to prove he has the ability of a first-team quality striker at this level. Ings has enjoyed a decent start to the campaign, appearing in all three games and scoring a goal in a losing effort to Everton. Ings was also linked with a summer move to the Eagles and could look to show Palace what they missed out on.

With the recent injury to James Tomkins, the spotlight will be on Mamadou Sakho to lead the defence from the centre of the park. Martin Kelly is by no means a bad player but the step down from Tomkins to him is a large one. The pressure will fall on the large shoulders of Sakho to keep Ings and strike partner Shane Long quiet to help Palace secure the three points.

Luka Milivojevic v Oriol Romeu

Following the red card that Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg received in last week’s loss against Leicester City, the man most likely to replace him in the starting 11 is Oriol Romeu. The Spanish midfielder was dropped from the team prior to Leicester and will be looking to seize this opportunity to re-establish himself in the team.

Luka Milivojevic scored an excellent goal in Palace’s win last time out against the Saints. Milivojevic is likely to have a chip on his shoulder due to his recent exclusion from the Serbian national team due to some comments that he made following their World Cup exit. A good performance would not only help his confidence but give the Serbian coach something serious to chew on.

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Christian Benteke v Alex McCarthy

Alex McCarthy will have to continue to play well if he wants to keep his place in the team due to the presence of summer signing Angus Gunn on the bench. In addition to the pressure applied on his place by Gunn, McCarthy will also experience addition motivation when returning to Selhurst. The Englishman spent one year at Palace but struggled while being buried behind Julian Speroni and Wayne Hennessey in the pecking order.

Christian Benteke could be running out of chances. Despite his continued excellence in the air and hold-up play, Benteke is still struggling to score goals. With talented strikers Jordan Ayew and Alexander Sorloth behind him, Roy Hodgson could give another player a shot if the big Belgian continues to struggle to find his scoring boots. A goal would go a long way towards silencing Benteke’s doubters and boosting his confidence.

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