With only one goal between them during the weekend’s round of Premier League matches, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers will seek to put on a better spectacle for the fans in Tuesday’s Selhurst Park battle.
The Eagles came away from Leicester City with another point to their name in a 0-0 draw, while the visitors picked up a morale-boosting 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest.
Patrick Vieira was indebted to Crystal Palace number one Vicente Guaita for keeping a hapless Leicester City at bay on Saturday lunchtime, as the Eagles’ inconsistent run continued with a goalless stalemate at the King Power Stadium.
While the Foxes had chances of their own that Guaita was equal to, Palace failed to grasp any of their own opportunities with both hands on the day, with Vieira admitting that he laid witness to a “flat” second-half performance from his inconsistent crop.
With West Ham United gleaning a point from their clash with Southampton while Leeds United lost to Arsenal on Sunday, Palace head into the midweek round of fixtures 13th in the table – only two points clear of the bottom three with a game in hand on 18th-placed Southampton.
A tally of just one win from their last six Premier League matches would not fill the Selhurst Park faithful with unbridled optimism – neither would scoring just three goals in their last four top-flight outings – but the goals have been flying in at Selhurst Park this term.
After keeping five consecutive clean sheets at home towards the end of the 2021-22 season, Palace have conceded at least once in all of their top-flight games at Selhurst Park this term, albeit while also scoring in each of their last four since opening the season with that 2-0 loss to Arsenal.
It would have taken a brave soul to bet on Wolves’ meeting with Nottingham Forest being an end-to-end goalfest, and only the one strike separated the two profligate crops in a tale of two penalties at Molineux.
Back from suspension with a bang, Ruben Neves lashed home a penalty with 56 minutes on the clock before Matheus Nunes conceded a spot kick for a tug on Ryan Yates, but Jose Sa was up to the task – beating away Brennan Johnson’s effort from 12 yards.
Prior to scoring the game’s only goal, Neves made his teammates aware of Nottingham Forest’s ill-timed tweet of Emmanuel Dennis surrounded by a pack of wolf cubs captioned “playtime”, and Wolves’ social media team responded in kind with their own humorous post mocking their counterparts’ unfounded confidence.
As the search for a new permanent head coach rumbles on in the background, stand-in manager Steve Davis led Wolves out of the relegation zone by snapping his side’s three-game run without a goal or a point, and they remain 17th in the table after Southampton failed to beat West Ham.
Next on the agenda for the visitors is bringing an end to a frankly abysmal run of form on the road, as Wolves have failed to win any of their last nine Premier League matches on rival turf and have failed to score in each of their last four away from home.
Only recent opponents Nottingham Forest have also scored just one away goal all season, and Wolves’ recent results against Palace do not make for positive reading in that regard either, as the Eagles have won each of the last three editions of this fixture with three clean sheets in tow. Before that, Wolves had won three on the spin without conceding once themselves.
The quintet of Chris Richards (thigh), Jack Butland (wrist), James McArthur (groin), Nathaniel Clyne (ankle) and Nathan Ferguson (ankle) all remain out of contention for Palace, who were also without Will Hughes against Leicester due to illness.
It remains to be seen if Hughes will be available for the visit of Wolves, and Vieira surprised some by hauling off Wilfried Zaha in the 77th minute against Leicester, but the Ivory Coast attacker will expect to start again here.
Michael Olise and Jean-Philippe Mateta will push for recalls to the attacking trident alongside Zaha, and Tyrick Mitchell has not completed the full 90 minutes since recovering from illness – not even lasting an hour on Saturday – so makeshift left-back Jairo Riedewald will be on standby.
As for the visitors, Nathan Collins has now served his three-game ban and will be ready to form his partnership with Max Kilman at the back, with Toti Gomes’s run in the team set to come to an end.
Chiquinho and Sasa Kalajdzic remain out for the long term with their knee injuries, as does Raul Jimenez (groin), and Pedro Neto will also miss the World Cup period with his ankle ligament problem.
Adama Traore has likely done enough to hold his spot in the XI – the same can be said for Rayan Ait-Nouri, who had licence to bomb forward against Forest – but Goncalo Guedes could replace Daniel Podence after recovering from illness.
Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Guaita; Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Eze, Doucoure, Schlupp; Olise, Mateta, Zaha
Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Sa; Semedo, Kilman, Collins, Ait-Nouri; Nunes, Neves, Moutinho; Traore, Costa, Guedes