Crystal Palace commence their 2020-21 Premier League campaign with a home clash against Southampton at Selhurst Park.
Palace will be looking to improve on a 14th placed finish last season despite a late season slump, whilst Southampton who finished in 11th and nine points ahead of the Eagles look to kick on in their quest to fight for a top ten finish.
Palace could be without summer signings, Eberechi Eze and Nathan Ferguson due to respective knee and groin injuries.
Patrick van Anholt (shoulder), Mamadou Sakho (muscle), Gary Cahill (tendon), James Tomkins, Connor Wickham (both unspecified) and Christian Benteke (foot) meanwhile all are definitely sidelined.
Southampton will be without Stuart Armstrong due to a quad injury picked up whilst on international duty for Scotland.
New signing, Mohammed Salisu is also ruled out as he continues to build up his match fitness.
- Palace have won just one of their last seven matches against Southampton (W1, D2, L4).
- Southampton are unbeaten in five of their last seven trips to Selhurst Park (W5, L2), keeping a clean sheets in four of their five victories.
- The Eagles have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last seven meetings against Southampton since winning 3-0 in December 2016.
- Palace are unbeaten in three of their last five opening weekend games across last five seasons (W2, D1, L2).
- Southampton are winless in their last six opening weekend matches of new seasons (D4, L2), failing to score in their opening games of last three seasons.
Roy Hodgson will be concerned by the size of Palace’s injury crisis because to start a season with so many players out injured for unspecified periods is a real worry, especially off the back of failing to win their last eight league games which can easily turn into freefall as Watford discovered last season to their eventual cost as they suffered relegation.
Southampton meanwhile lost just one of their last nine league games whilst retaining the core of their squad with exception of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, yet have lost Armstrong to injury which is a slight worry given his quality but I can see both teams cancelling themselves out given the attacking quality on offer.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Southampton
Result: Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton