Bottom of the table Aston Villa welcome Crystal Palace on Tuesday evening still looking for their first win in front of their own fans this season.
Villa fans will be sick of reading that they haven’t won in the Premier League since the opening day of the season, but that remains the case as they prepare to host Alan Pardew’s side.
It got worse for the Villans at the weekend, as they were held to a 1-1 draw at League Two Wycombe, which was followed by club captain Micah Richards arguing with fans and some of the club’s irate supporters hurling abuse at the players as they got on the team bus.
The only way for Remi Garde’s men to stop the criticism coming their way is to start winning games, with the club sitting 11 points from safety. They haven’t beaten Palace at Villa Park in the top flight since 1998, when a Savo Milosevic brace helped the hosts to a 3-1 victory.
There are no such troubles for the visitors, who advanced into the fourth round of the FA Cup with an impressive win at Southampton, as Palace continued their excellent season.
The Eagles sit just two points off Manchester United in fifth, and their total of five away wins is more than any team outside the top two of Arsenal and Leicester.
Palace also have the strongest defence on the road, having conceded just seven goals in nine games away from Selhurst Park this season. It marks a remarkable turnaround for the South London side, who this time last year were in the relegation zone; something that Villa fans may cling on to as a sign that things can get better.
Richards has recovered from a minor knock picked up at Wycombe and will play in the back four; whether the former Man City man plays at centre-half or right-back remains to be seen. Attackers Gabriel Agbonlahor and Jack Grealish are doubtful for the hosts.
Connor Wickham – the only striker to have found the net for Palace this season – is back in contention for the visitors after a calf injury, while Yohan Cabaye will be assessed as the Frenchman recovers from a knock of his own. Yannick Bolasie will miss the match in the Midlands with a leg inury.
League Position: Aston Villa – 20th (8 pts); Crystal Palace – 7th (31 pts)
Last Meeting: Crystal Palace 2-1 Aston Villa (August 22, 2015)
Form: Aston Villa – DLDDLL; Crystal Palace – DWWDDL
Key Men: Aston Villa – Jordan Ayew; Crystal Palace – Wilfried Zaha
Shoot Says: Aston Villa 0-2 Crystal Palace