Every year there seems to be one surprise team who ends up in the upper echelon of the Premier League table, and everyone debates whether they will establish themselves there long-term or whether they’ll come back to Earth.
This year, Stoke City is that team, just at the other end.
[ WATCH LIVE: Crystal Palace vs. Stoke City live on NBCSports.com ]
The Potters, a team that has finished in the top half of the table each of the last three seasons, is bottom of the Premier League standings with just a single point after four matches. Manager Mark Hughes has done his best to dispel any worries, but the performances have been sub-standard for a club looking to begin pushing for a European place as the next level of club growth, and frustration boiled over for Hughes last week when he was sent to the stands.
They have another chance to get off the mark with a trip to Selhurst Park, live on CNBC at 9:15 am E.T. or live online at NBCSports.com. The Potters take on a club in Crystal Palace that finds itself on the heels of its first three points of the season.
The other 9:15 slate features another club clawing for its first win, as Southampton hosts Swansea City at St. Mary’s, live online at NBCSports.com. The Saints have just two points through four matches, but manager Claude Puel has professed his belief that the results will come as the performances continue to be worthy of a win. Jay Rodriguez misses out after picking up an injury midweek in Europa League play, with Shane Long replacing him.
[ WATCH LIVE: Southampton vs. Swansea City live on NBCSports.com ]
The Swans have just a single point since their season-opening win over Burnley more than a month ago. Leroy Fer is in good form, however, with three goals this season, including one in each of their last two matches. He starts in midfield, although record signing Borja Baston remains out with a thigh injury continuing to put off his debut.
Crystal Palace: Mandanda, Ward, Dann, Tomkins, Kelly, McArthur, Puncheon, Ledley, Townsend, Zaha, Benteke
Subs: Hennessey, Fryers, Delaney, Flamini, Lee, Sako, Wickham.
Stoke City: Given; Johnson, Shawcross, Cameron, Martins Indi; Allen, Whelan; Walters, Bojan, Arnautovic; Bony
Subs: Grant, Bardsley, Pieters, Adam, Diouf, Imbula, Crouch
Southampton: Forster, Cedric, Fonte, Van Dijk, Bertrand, Redmond, Clasie, Romeu, Davis, Tadic, Long
Subs: McCarthy, Yoshida, Austin, Martina, Reed, Hojbjerg, Isgrove.
Swansea City: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Amat, Kingsley, Cork, Ki, Fer, Sigurdsson, Barrow, Llorente.
Subs: Nordfeldt, van der Hoorn, Rangel, Britton, Montero, Routledge, Borja.