Crystal Palace-Aston Villa Preview
Winning has seriously been hard to come by for both Crystal Palace and Aston Villa within the Premier League.
With these sides mired in a combined seven-match top-flight losing streak, Villa host Palace on Sunday in Birmingham.
"Project Restart" has not gone all that well for both Crystal Palace (11-9-14) and Aston Villa (7-6-21). In fact, it's been downright brutal for some time now for the Villans, who are stuck in the middle of the drop zone whilst amid an 0-2-8 league stretch.
Villa have also been outscored 6-0 during a three-game Premier League losing streak that followed a 3-0 loss to Manchester United on Thursday. Their most recent goal in this competition came via Ahmed Elmohamady in the 83rd minute of a 1-1 with Newcastle United on June 24.
Aston Villa's most recent top-flight victory came 2-1 over Watford on Jan. 21. And with the season winding down, Villa potentially see the writing on the wall in terms of their future in the Premier League. Yet, the white towel has not been officially thrown on the pitch.
"We've got four matches now against teams who I believe we can be competitive against," manager Dean Smith told Aston Villa's official website.
"I felt it would come down to these last four (league matches), and we've got to make sure now that we dust ourselves off from (the Manchester United) result and get ready for the last four."
That quest to save their Premier League lives continues against Crystal Palace, who posted a 1-0 victory over Villa on Aug. 31 - thanks to Jordan Ayew's goal in the 73rd minute.
Whilst the Eagles sit 14th in the table with a solid 42 points, they've been outscored 11-2-during a four-game league losing streak. That rot followed a four-match winning stretch in which they did not concede a goal.
Though Palace did fall 3-2 to Chelsea on Tuesday, they managed to snap a three-game goal drought. It was also good to see top names Wilfried Zaha (four goals this season) and underachiever Christian Benteke (two goals) make their way on to the score sheet after struggling with inconsistency throughout the campaign.
Whilst this might be an opportunity for Crystal Palace to cure their lingering ills, manager Roy Hodgson expects the challenge from a desperate Villa gang to be intense.
"In their table position, I think most teams will be looking to come fighting and take that last chance to try and stay in the division," the veteran gaffer told Palace's official website.
"One thing is for certain: Everybody knows how important it is to try and stay in this division. That's something all teams would do."
Updated July 10, 2020