Despite a revival under new boss Tony Pulis that saw Crystal Palace go from relegation certainties to potential survivors, one point from their last two games has once again raised fears of a bottom-three finish at Selhurst Park.
A dogged performance on home turf against champions Manchester United was undone by a clumsy Marouane Chamakh challenge on Patrice Evra that resulted in Robin van Persie’s opener from the penalty spot - and from then on, a relatively comfortable victory for David Moyes’s men.
However, the spirit and determination within the Palace camp was evident in their stirring second-half fight-back against fellow stragglers Swansea last week, capped by Glenn Murray’s first Premier League goal, from the penalty spot, to earn what may be a crucial point come May.
Southampton on the other hand can begin preparing for a third-successive season back in England’s top flight despite back-to-back losses to West Ham and Liverpool. The strong English contingent at St. Mary’s are largely to thank for that with Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert all playing their part in Saints’ revival.
Whether their involvement in England’s win over Denmark is a hindrance to Mauricio Pochettino’s preparations remains to be seen, but if one thing is certain this Saturday lunchtime, it’s that former-Saint Jason Puncheon – fined £15,000 this week for his Twitter comments about old boss Neil Warnock – will not be on penalty duty for the Eagles.
With Norwich in action against Stoke and Cardiff taking on basement-boys Fulham in Wales, the importance of collecting three points this weekend will not be lost on Pulis.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Sept 2013: Southampton (Osvaldo, Lambert) 2-0 Crystal Palace, Premier League
April 2012: Crystal Palace 0-2 Southampton (Lambert ), Championship
Dec 2011: Southampton (De Prado ) 2-0 Crystal Palace, Championship
Southampton have won the last three meetings by a 2-0 scoreline
The last four meetings have all ended by that scoreline, with Palace’s last victory coming in the Carling Cup during the 2011/12 season
Both teams haven’t scored in this fixture since a 1-1 draw at Selhurst in February 2008 in England’s second tier
Southampton have kept four clean sheets in their last six games against the Eagles
Palace to win: 3.8
Southampton to win: 2.15