Or is it?
We beat Palace on their patch just a month ago, with Benteke getting the winner, so you would think this one should be in the bag really, wouldn’t you?
This is the Villa we’re talking about though and nothing’s as obvious as it should be these days, hence me not being so sure.
Palace’s wingers caused us some problems last time we met and Bolasie in particular is a player I like.
So this one’s certainly not the walkover it should be.
Team news then and we have Gabby and Richardson available again and I can’t see past both of them being selected.
So where does Grealish come into things then?
Well, quite simply, I think this is a game that he ought to start.
I know the “you can’t push him too quickly” argument and I was one of those who thought that way.
I’d still be thinking that way, but I believe we currently have such little threat, that we have no option but to try the kid as an alternative.
I know it would be putting a lot of responsibility on the lad’s shoulders, but there’s no reason he can’t be told that he might be subbed regardless, at half time or whatever. Which could mean that Gabby comes on later, where we can use his pace better in the latter stages?
No doubt it’s wishful thinking though and Lambert has said that Grealish needs to keep pushing the first team harder. A comment I could understand if the midfield and strikers were achieving anything, but given that the midfield create next to nothing and Wiemann and Gabby are mostly way off form, I found the comment utterly preposterous.
So basically, I don’t see the lineup as being anything other than what we’d expect under a manager who just seems totally reluctant to try anything different.
As for Palace, they’re without their captain Mile Jedinak, who’s off to the Asia cup with Australia.
Alan Pardew hasn’t officially joined up with the club yet, but you know the players will be thinking they’re playing for a place, so should be well up for it.
Which makes a prediction difficult.
As per usual of late, I don’t think we’ll score many. At the same time, I think Palace will probably score one.
With that said, logic tells me a 1-1 draw is on the cards.
But this is game which we really need to win and my hope is that we can prevent them scoring.
So 1-0 it is then.