Tuesday, July 7
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Dec 26, 2019 at 3pm UK
Crystal Palace
West HamWest Ham United
Kouyate (68'), Ayew (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Snodgrass (57')

Preview: Crystal Palace vs. West Ham United - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Crystal Palace vs. West Ham United - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of the Premier League between Crystal Palace and West Ham United on Boxing Day.

Crystal Palace head into their Premier League fixture with West Ham United on Boxing Day having dropped down to 12th position in the standings, courtesy of a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United.

As for the Hammers, they will have had a 12-day break from action by the time that they take to the pitch at Selhurst Park due to last weekend's scheduled clash with Liverpool having been postponed.

Match preview

For the most part this season, Palace have spent time in the top half of the table, helped by a recent return of eight points from four matches.

However, the late 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United last weekend has resulted in the Eagles dropping down to 12th position, nine points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea.

While Roy Hodgson will be relatively satisfied with performances in general, failing to beat any of Watford, Brighton & Hove Albion and the Magpies has put the club on the back foot.

With trips to Southampton and Norwich City to follow, Hodgson will acknowledge that they represent a good opportunity to get back on track at a time when he will be considering fresh additions.

On the flipside, not getting back to winning ways against any of their upcoming opposition will leave Hodgson to rue squandering a big chance to establish his team as a contender for a European place at the end of the season.

West Ham make the journey across London having enjoyed an unscheduled break due to Liverpool's participation in the Club World Cup - something which arguably came at the wrong time after the victory at Southampton.

Nevertheless, it gave Manuel Pellegrini time to reflect after just a second success from 12 matches in all competitions - a run which threatened the Chilean's position at the Hammers.

Success at St Mary's has brought Pellegrini some time over the Christmas period, although he will be aware that a low return from games against Palace, Leicester City and Bournemouth may force the board's hand.

However, they have recorded two narrow wins on the road over the past five weeks, which can only increase the belief in a squad which should be faring much better in the table.

Crystal Palace Premier League form: LWWDDL

West Ham United Premier League form: LLWLLW

Team News

With Palace missing a number of defenders through injury, the return of Mamadou Sakho is a significant boost for Hodgson.

That should enable Cheikhou Kouyate to feature in midfield, while Christian Benteke is in line to keep his place down the middle of the attack.

Ryan Fredericks serves a one-match ban for West Ham, meaning that Pablo Zabaleta is likely to be used in his place.

As a result of goalkeeper David Martin carrying a knock, either Lukasz Fabianski - providing that he is fit again - or Roberto will come into the starting lineup.

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Guaita; Kelly, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt; Kouyate, Milivojevic, McArthur; Ayew, Benteke, Zaha

West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Cresswell; Snodgrass, Rice, Noble, Fornals; Antonio, Haller

We say: Crystal Palace 1-2 West Ham United

Before the weekend, Palace would have been favourites to edge this contest, but we are now favouring West Ham, who will be well-rested and motivated to close the gap to their London rivals to one point.

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