Crystal Palace will take on Fulham in the Premier League at Selhurst Park in what should be an exciting London derby on Saturday.
The Eagles have picked up seven points from their opening five games of the new season. They suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa at Villa Park last weekend.
The Cottagers have the same number of points from five games, with their London counterparts just above them due to a superior goal difference. Marco Silva’s side bounced back to winning ways last weekend by edging newly-promoted Luton Town 1-0.
With that being said, here are three key battles that could decide the outcome of the match.
#Andreas Pereira vs Cheick Doucoure
As he has been for much of the time under Marco Silva, Fulham will rely on Andreas Pereira to weave his magic in the final third and unlock the opposition’s backline. He will be expected to start from the left-hand side of the Fulham midfield.
The task of stopping Pereira from influencing Fulham’s attacks will fall on the shoulders of Cheick Doucoure. Starting at the base of Roy Hodgson’s midfield trio in each of Palace’s five games, Doucoure has to be at his best to contain Pereira as well as build attacks for the hosts.
How the Malian does in midfield against Fulham will be interesting to see. And if he can nullify Pereira, Palace stand a good chance to win all points in the London derby.
#Odsonne Edouard vs Fulham centre-backs
Odsonne Edouard looks a player reborn for Palace this season. He has already netted four goals in five games, including one in the defeat to Aston Villa last weekend.
The Frenchman is certain to lead the Eagles’ attack against Fulham, and he will be keen to add to his goal tally. If Fulham are to get a positive result in south London, they cannot let an in-form Edouard run riot. If Edouard has to be stopped, Fulham’s centre-back pairing of Tim Ream and Issa Diop will have to be on their toes throughout the game.
#Tyrick Mitchell vs Harry Wilson
Solid in defence and tenacious in the challenge, Tyrick Mitchell is comfortable in one-on-one situations at the back, but also loves to get forward. He can provide good deliveries from the flank and is an asset for Palace during transitions.
However, Mitchell will likely be up against the unpredictability of Harry Wilson on Saturday and it’s those aforementioned defensive duties that are sure to be put to the test. Wilson may not have a goal or an assist to show for this season so far, but his pace, industry and set-piece expertise add a lot of value to Silva’s side.
This battle between two talented players will certainly be one to watch.