The FourFourTwo Preview: Crystal Palace vs Norwich
CRYSTAL PALACE FORM
- Man City 1-0 Palace (Prem)
- Aston Villa 0-1 Palace (Prem)
- Palace 0-3 Newcastle (Prem)
- Chelsea 2-1 Palace (Prem)
- Palace 2-0 Cardiff (Prem)
- Norwich 0-1 Man Utd (Prem)
- Norwich 1-2 Fulham (Prem)
- S'land 0-0 Norwich (Prem)
- Norwich 1-1 Swansea (Prem)
- WBA 0-2 Norwich (Prem)
Palace won more points in December than in the rest of the season combined, and their impressive performances weren't restricted to the three wins in those six games: they also asked a few questions at Chelsea and Manchester City, with only the Newcastle defeat staining the record.
But Pulis knows that he needs to beat the teams around Palace, and after wins to nil against West Ham, Cardiff and Villa, he'll fancy his team's chances against the side they were unlucky to lose to in his first game as Glaziers gaffer.
Unlike some drop-dodgers, Hughton's team are rarely well beaten - only once in the nine games since that Etihad excoriation have Norwich lost by more than one. But that last home defeat by United summed up their problems: even when on top, they don't kill games off, and despite the promising form of Gary Hooper (five goals in nine games) they aren't nearly clinical enough.
As Hughton said after Fulham's late winner: "We didn't make the most of our opportunities. I'm really disappointed not to come away with a result."
And after the United game: "When you're having your best period in the game you've got to try and capitalise on it, and we didn't do that." It's becoming a familiar story.
Key battle: Mile Jedinak vs Wes Hoolahan
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
- N'wich 1-0 Palace (Prem, Nov 13)
- Palace 0-0 N'wich (C'ship, Jan 11)
- N'wich 1-2 Palace (C'ship, Oct 10)
- Palace 3-1 N'wich (C'ship, Dec 08)
- N'wich 1-2 Palace (C'ship, Nov 08)
Hughton and Pulis have faced each other twice before as managers, with honours even. Norwich beat Palace on Pulis's debut in November, but the Bristol-tinged Welshman had beaten the London-twanged Irishman when Stoke won 2-1 at Newcastle in September 2010. Hughton lost his job later that year and the signs aren't great for him now - Norwich gained 38 points from 37 games in 2013.
TIPS & TRENDS
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Facts and figures
- Palace are unbeaten in 13 home league meetings with Norwich City (W9 D4).
- Canaries ace Gary Hooper completed all 32 passes in the reverse fixture with Palace this season.
- Palace have had Under 2.5 goals in their last 6 matches against middle-third teams.
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