Bournemouth v Crystal Palace
Bournemouth in desperate need for points
Bournemouth are locked in a fight to avoid relegation with Eddie Howe’s side inside the bottom three with only nine matches remaining. A miserable run of form since the end of last year has left the Cherries in trouble although they are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference with Watford ahead by the slenderest of margins.
A lack of goals has been a major problem for 18th placed Bournemouth this season with the team only scoring 29 goals in as many matches. Home wins over fellow strugglers Brighton and Aston Villa provided much-needed boosts but Bournemouth have only managed one point from their last four games. A 2-2 draw against Chelsea was a creditable result while Callum Wilson’s early goal could not prevent a 2-1 defeat at champions-elect Liverpool last weekend.
Hodgson guiding Palace towards top half
Crystal Palace rewarded Roy Hodgson with a contract extension until the end of next season and the manager has again steered the Premier League club to safety with something to spare. The Eagles are in a comfortable position in 11th and are only six points behind fifth-placed Manchester United. Qualifying for Europe may prove beyond them but Palace are still handily placed after an impressive run over the last month.
Three successive wins, all by a 1-0 scoreline, have ended any slight fears of being dragged into a relegation battle. Patrick van Aanholt, who has scored three times against Bournemouth, netted the winner at home to Newcastle. Jordan Ayew fired Palace to a win at rivals Brighton before the striker clinched victory against Watford at Selhurst Park last weekend.
Bournemouth are [2.56] favourites and this looks a poor price on the hosts. The Cherries have gone four games without winning and are under pressure in the relegation zone. Four wins from 14 home matches is an unimpressive record and two victories from their last 12 fixtures suggests they are too short to back.
Crystal Palace are [3.1] and the visitors appeal much more than their opponents. A run of three wins in a row sends them into this match with high confidence levels and they will take on a team without a clean sheet in 12 league games. Palace won 1-0 against Bournemouth in December and on current form will fancy their chances of completing the double.
The draw is the biggest price option in this market at [3.4] and certainly cannot be discounted. Crystal Palace have drawn nine matches already this season and are a difficult team to beat. Bournemouth need to push for the win and could be caught on the counter-attack with the visitors offering the best value. Backing Palace in the draw no bet market appeals, with the additional safety net in a match where the vulnerable favourites should be taken on.
Both of these teams are among the lowest scorers in the division and there is every chance this will be a game of few goals. Crystal Palace have only managed a paltry 26 goals in 29 games but their relatively strong defence has been the difference. Five of their last six matches have seen under 2.5 goals and this looks a likely outcome again but odds of 1.75 are not quite enticing enough to urge a bet.
No side have kept fewer clean sheets in the Premier League this season than Bournemouth (four). Indeed, the Cherries have conceded at least once in each of their last 12 league games, the longest current run in the competition.
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