The initial legs of the FA Cup third round finishes up this afternoon as Crystal Palace head south to face rival Brighton and Hove Albion.
Both teams have made numerous changes to their starting lineups – 12 in total between the two – but there should be plenty of passion and energy on display in England’s oldest competition.
The winner of this tie will head to Middlesborough in the fourth round.
An interesting sub-plot of this match is it’s the first in which video assistant replay will be used. There are reportedly an overflow of journalists at the game to cover how it is used – more than the overall result of the match.
They might not be out of the danger zone just yet, but Crystal Palace can be forgiven for looking a bit smug about the hiring of Tony Pulis. Palace beat West Ham on Tuesday and now have brought in another three points, leaving them behind the Irons in the standings due to goal difference. Dare they dream of a win against Chelsea next time out?
The hosts started things off quickly, scoring after less than ten minutes had passed. It was Cameron Jerome, getting his head on the end of a cross from Jason Puncheon, who put Palace ahead at the expense of his former club. With the early lead for Palace, the question quickly became: can this new Pulis side hang on and defend?
But even when forced into an early save — Adrian Mariappa replaced Dean Moxey in the 25th minute thanks to injury — the hosts, playing Pulis-ball, stayed strong. In fact, they were even able to double their lead before the hour was out. Marouane Chamakh pulled off his second of the week, after scoring the winner against West Ham on Tuesday. The forward got his foot on the end of a cross from Barry Bannan to slot the ball into the bottom right corner, doubling the hosts’ lead.
It must be said that things looked mighty grim for the visitors. Only the new goalline technology system prevented Crystal Palace from getting a third, as it looked like Jerome had managed to get the ball over the line once more. Cardiff, meanwhile, could barely get close to goal. Could this task prove not so impossible for Pulis?
Tony Pulis won’t be in the dugout today, but Crystal Palace will still be hoping to turn over a new leaf against Hull City at the KC Stadium (10 am ET, watch live online via NBC Sports Live Extra).
The goalless draw against Everton last week represented something of a breakthrough for Palace. Sure, they still haven’t scored a goal in over 350 minutes, but at least they managed to grind out a point. The visitors will potentially be bolstered by the return of young Jonny Williams, although the midfielder will start this one on the bench. Caretaker manager Keith Millen has elected to pair Dwight Gayle with Marouane Chamakh in hopes of finally finding that elusive goal.
Hull, who could theoretically go 10th with a win today, are looking to keep their strong defensive record at home. They’ve conceded just once in five games at the KC Stadium, and have yet to lose. The Tigers’ impressive defense will be bolstered by the return of goalkeeper Allan McGregor, while perhaps their stingy scoring record will be improved now that winger Robbie Brady is back from from injury.
After seven consecutive Premier League defeats, Crystal Palace are hoping to find a little luck when Everton pay a visit to Selhurst Park today (10 am ET, watch live online via NBC Sports Live Extra).
It seems Ian Holloway may not have been the problem. Since the former Palace boss left on October 23, the side lost 2-0 to Arsenal and then 2-0 to West Brom last week. Acting manager Keith Millen can do little to stop his side’s freefall. As it stands Palace are dead last, with just three points on the season, and only six goals scored. Marouane Chamakh, despite having just one goal on the season, retains his starting spot, but midfielder Adlene Guedioura is out after breaking two ribs and puncturing a lung last weekend.
As if Palace’s scoring wasn’t woeful enough, they’re now forced to face a backline that hasn’t conceded a goal in four hours. Palace could try to make it out with a goalless draw, except Everton come bearing Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian suffered a blow last week in a collision with Hugo Lloris, but will start today, hoping to add to his five goals on the season.
Aitor Karanka, a former Real Madrid defender and assistant to José Mourinho during his time with the Spanish giants, may be in line to replace Ian Holloway at Crystal Palace. Palace have been without a permanent manager since October 23, when Holloway stepped down. Since that time, the club has been linked with Wales manager Chris Coleman, former Stoke City boss Tony Pulis, and Martin O’Neill, who accepted the Republic of Ireland gig this week.
Appointing Karanka would be a bit outside the box. The 40 year old may have been Mourinho’s number two at the Bernabéu, but he has no experience taking on the No. 1 role, nor has he worked in England. But Karanka did well in his interview this week, impressing Palace co-chairman Steve Parish. It doesn’t hurt, either, that Mourinho himself speaks highly of his former assistant, saying “”I think the club that gets him, whether in England or another country, will be a lucky club.”
After losing to West Brom last weekend, Crystal Palace have now lost seven in a row. The side, temporarily managed by Keith Millen, are bottom of the Premier League, and have the thankless task of facing Everton on Saturday. If Karanka is brought on board, he could be in place after the international break, in time for the clash against Hull City.