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May 16, 2021 at 12pm UK
Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace
Aston VillaAston Villa
Benteke (32'), Zaha (75'), Mitchell (84')
Ward (73'), Kouyate (82'), Zaha (90+2')
FT(HT: 1-2)
McGinn (17'), El Ghazi (34')
McGinn (50'), Hause (86')

Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Aston Villa - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Aston Villa - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Aston Villa square off against Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon looking for the victory which would keep them in the hunt for ninth place in the Premier League standings.

Having suffered four defeats in five matches, Palace are in need of a win to boost their chances of finishing no lower than 13th position.

Match preview

Throughout this season, Villa have appeared to be on an upward curve, a fast start to the season ensuring that they have never been regarded as candidates for relegation.

However, there is a feeling of what could have been for Dean Smith's side with just two victories having been recorded from 11 fixtures.

When you combine that with Villa not recording back-to-back wins since December, there is a feeling of frustration with the club sitting just 11 points adrift of fifth-placed Liverpool.

Although European football is now realistically out of the question, Smith will be desperate to end the season on a positive note against Palace, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

While Smith will be delighted with the return to fitness of Jack Grealish, he will not take too many risks on his key man at a time when he undoubtedly requires other players to take on more responsibility in the final third.

As far as Palace are concerned, Roy Hodgson has the job of keeping an unsettled squad motivated now that survival in the Premier League has been achieved.

With the amount of players out of contract stretching into double figures, it is unrealistic to expect the same level of performance from those who could become free agents.

Nevertheless, they also have a duty to give their best for a manager who finds himself in the same position ahead of a closing triple-header against Villa, Arsenal and Liverpool.

The Eagles ended last season with multiple defeats in succession, and history will repeat itself if Palace do not bounce back from Tuesday's 3-1 defeat at Southampton.

The London outfit have a similar recent record to their opponents, picking up just three wins from 13 games played since February 8.

Crystal Palace Premier League form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L

Aston Villa Premier League form:
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D

Team News

Despite the situation off the pitch regarding contracts, Hodgson may be prepared to make several changes to his Palace starting lineup.

Andros Townsend could come back into the team at the expense of Jordan Ayew, while James McCarthy is an option in midfield.

On the back of five goals in eight appearances, Christian Benteke should keep Michy Batshuayi and Jean-Philippe Mateta out of the side.

Villa are boosted by the return of Ollie Watkins, who sat out the goalless draw with Everton through suspension.

Matty Cash is expected to miss out with a hamstring injury, but Tyrone Mings will be assessed after sustaining a knock against the Toffees.

Grealish will likely remain among the replacements ahead of being handed a start against Spurs or Chelsea.

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Guaita; Ward, Kouyate, Dann, Mitchell; Eze, Milivojevic, McCarthy; Townsend, Benteke, Zaha

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Elmohamady, Konsa, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Luiz; Traore, Barkley, El Ghazi; Watkins

We say: Crystal Palace 1-1 Aston Villa

With both teams having struggled for form of late, we not expect the most entertaining of spectacles at Selhurst Park. All things considered, this contest is most likely to end in a draw, a result which does not necessarily suit either team ahead of the final week of the season.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:

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