Swans v Crystal Palace: The big talking points

22nd December 2017
First team

​​​​​​​Swansea City face Crystal Palace in another key Premier League fixture this weekend.

The Swans are desperate for a pre-Christmas victory against another side in the relegation scrap, but are facing opponents who have found some form.

Here are all the major talking points heading into the big game.

Britton bounce?

Leon Britton is in caretaker charge of the Swans this weekend following the departure of Paul Clement.

The fans' favourite reckons he can have a positive impact on a struggling side despite having only a couple of training sessions to get new ideas across.

Britton believes the fans will play their part - and hopes the players can respond.

Home for Christmas

The Swans’ final fixture before Christmas is on their own patch, where there have been some signs of improvement in recent weeks.

The margin of the Manchester City defeat was disappointing, but there is no shame in losing to Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering team.

And the Swans can take heart from their efforts in the two Liberty fixtures prior to that, against West Brom and Bournemouth.

They beat the Baggies and were unlucky not to see off the Cherries, and managed clean sheets in both games.

More of the same would be welcome this weekend.

Points at this point

The Palace fixture is the Swans’ 19th in the Premier League this season, which means they are about to reach halfway.

So far, things have not gone as well as the Swans might have hoped, with the win at Palace back in August one of only three they have managed in the top flight so far this term.

However, a victory this weekend would see the Swans reach 15 points at the midway stage of the season.

And that would be three more than they had at the same point last term, when things turned out very well in the end.

Happy Hodgson

Crystal Palace endured a nightmare start to the season, losing their first seven league games without scoring a single goal.

At that stage, some were suggesting they might already be doomed.

Frank de Boer was sacked after just four league games and replaced by Roy Hodgson, and the former England boss has slowly turned things around.

Palace head to the Liberty full of confidence after a seven-game unbeaten league run which has seen them climb to 14th in the table.

Goals, goals, goals?

Thanks chiefly to that incredible 5-4 game at the Liberty, the Swans’ two encounters with Palace last season produced 12 goals, more than any other pair of Premier League fixtures in 2016-17.

So, can we expect another goalfest this weekend?

The stats suggest not.

The Swans have lacked firepower this season and, despite their recent upsurge, Palace have struggled going forward away from Selhurst Park.

In fact, it was not until their victory at Leicester last weekend that Palace scored their first away goal this season.

They ended up getting three at the King Power Stadium. The Swans must stem the flow on Saturday.

Missing men

The chances of goals are not aided by notable absentees on both sides this weekend.

Wilfried Bony misses out for the Swans after injuring his hamstring at Everton on Monday.

And Palace will be without Christian Benteke after he picked up his fifth booking of the season at Leicester last time out.