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Crystal Palace-Huddersfield Town Preview
Following a season-opening victory, nothing much has gone right for Crystal Palace. Perhaps a visit to Huddersfield will help.
The Eagles look to avoid a fourth consecutive Premier League defeat when they face winless Huddersfield Town on Saturday at John Smith's Stadium.
Though things don't seem as bad as last season when Crystal Palace (1-0-3) dropped their first seven league contests, the euphoria of a 2-0 opening victory over promoted Fulham has dissolved after they've been outscored 6-1 in losses to Liverpool, Watford and Southampton.
Now, two of those defeats came at the hands of teams currently tied for the league lead, leaving manager Roy Hodgson disappointed, but still confident in his group.
"It's not been the start we wanted, but the margins are small and the difference between us having three points or at least five are hair-fine," he told Palace's official website. "But that's what we've got to come to terms with.
"In each and every game we play, we are capable of getting a result and we're not out of the reckoning when it comes to getting a result, but we're also not out of the reckoning when it comes to a defeat against the teams around you because the league is a very competitive one."
If the Eagles are to turn things around this weekend, they might have to do so without a host of key contributors.Forward Christian Benteke, who has yet to score following a dismal three-goal campaign last season, is out with a knee injury."Christian has had a niggling knee injury for some while now," Hodgson said.
"That's still an ongoing issue, and while it's being dealt with, we'll have to wait and see when he will be available - there's no timetable on that.
Meanwhile, the status of veteran midfielder Wilfried Zaha and forward James Tomkins for Saturday are up in the air, though both are training.
"If we listen to our medical department, both are coming back as early, if not earlier, then should have been expected," Hodgson said.
Those fitness issues could open the door for newcomers Max Meyer and Cheikhou Kouyate to see major minutes in this contest, and beyond.
Though the Eagles could be massively undermanned Saturday, they should have the confidence that winning at Huddersfield is possible. They did so last season, 2-0 with goals from Tomkins and Luka Milivojevic.
One spot above the drop zone, Huddersfield (0-2-2) are one of five Premier League clubs still searching for a victory. However, after losing to Chelsea and Manchester City by a combined 9-1 scoreline, the Terriers have yielded just one goal whilst drawing Cardiff and Everton in their last two league contests.
"It's nice to see that we could find some of the characteristics from last season," goalkeeper Jonas Lossl told Huddersfield's official website following the 1-1 draw with Everton on Sept. 1. "We stood by each other's shoulders, fought for the point and defended well."
Whilst the Terriers have apparently solved some of their defensive woes, they have not faced high-potent teams of late. Their two goals are tied for the fewest in the Premier League with Cardiff and pointless West Ham.
Updated September 13, 2018