With Premier League football back and dominating the weekend listings, your Saturday night fare is a return to action for Bournemouth and Crystal Palace. The home team are desperate for a win to get their survival hopes up and running after the break, while the visitors are looking up towards the European places.
Where and when: Vitality Stadium – 20 June, kick-off 19:45
Where you can see Bournemouth vs. Crystal Palace: BBC
Last time: Jeffrey Schlupp scored the only goal of the game late on as Palace secured a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth in early December.
Bournemouth v Crystal Palace Predictions and Preview
The last meeting between these teams may have only produced a single goal, but this game has often produced fireworks in the past – not least last season’s breathtaking 5-3, which again landed in Crystal Palace’s favour at Selhurst Park.
There’s been plenty of goals between the two in recent seasons, but will the lack of supporters at the Vitality have any impact on that? After 19 goals in their four Premier League matches prior to this season, at an average of 4.75 per game, let’s hope not.
It’s tough to know whether the relegation-threatened Bournemouth players will feel more or less pressure than if Dean Court were brimming with their home fans. Yet an empty stadium – as we’ve seen in Germany’s Bundesliga – has served to help visiting teams since football returned to our screens.
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Crystal Palace to win and BTTS
Crystal Palace to win 5-3
Callum Wilson to score first
Palace were certainly the more in-form team before the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the sporting calendar. The Eagles had won their three matches immediately prior to break, while Bournemouth had lost three of their most recent four, drawing the other at home to Chelsea.
The Cherries have only won two of their last 12 Premier League fixtures, losing eight. That run has seen them slide into the bottom three, which is a perilous place to be considering there are fears of a second Covid-19 spike and the season being decided by points per game.
Palace have no such fears, as they fly high in 11th some 12 points clear of the drop zone. Instead of peering back over their shoulders, Roy Hodgson and his squad are dreaming of European football. The Eagles are only four points behind sixth-placed Wolves, yet they still start as the 2/1 underdogs in this game.
That’s even in spite of the away team’s clean bill of health coming into the match, with no Palace players nursing any injuries following the break in action. Bournemouth, on the other hand, will be without Charlie Daniels, while Philip Billing is a doubt with an ankle injury. The Cherries still start as the 6/4 favourites in the betting though, with the draw priced at 23/10.
One to watch for Bournemouth: Cherries manager Eddie Howe needs Callum Wilson to fire from the off if his team are going to be successful in this sprint finish for survival. The England international has only managed eight goals in 28 Premier League appearances so far this term, but is the 5/1 favourite to open the scoring on Saturday night.
One to watch for Crystal Palace: Jordan Ayew has one more goal for Palace from one more game, and has three times more goals for his club than any other Eagles player. He could be interesting in the first goalscorer market this weekend at 7/1.
Long shot: Who knows what’s going to happen with such an eerie and alien atmosphere inside the Vitality Stadium on Saturday night. Perhaps the bright lights and the return to action after a three-month break will spur the players on to produce a high-scoring show like they did in last season’s eight-goal thriller. Over 7.5 goals this weekend is priced at 125/1, while you can back Palace to win 5-3 again at 350/1.