Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa preview & predicted XI: Can Olise and Eze secure top-half finish?

Sparks will fly as Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa go toe-to-toe with each other at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

Crystal Palace are one of the most difficult teams to play against in the Premier League when everyone is fit, and they have demonstrated that in the course of the season following the return of Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise.

The two attackers, who are of Nigerian descent, have been in and out of the team due to injuries, but their return has given the Eagles the much-needed boost to finish the season on a high.

As Palace prepare to host Aston Villa at Selhurst Park on the final day of the season, it goes without saying that Unai Emery’s side will be facing a tougher side than the one they defeated 3-1 back in September.

The Eagles did not start the season particularly well and were sitting in 15th position when Roy Hodgson stepped down for Oliver Glasner to take over as manager in February.

Since taking charge, however, the Austrian has completely turned things around. Crystal Palace now play a beautiful brand of football and are currently among the most in-form teams in the Premier League, having not tasted defeat since mid-April.

Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa preview & predicted XI: Can Olise and Eze secure top-half finish?
Photo by Icon Sport

Under Glasner, the Eagles have become formidable in both home and away matches, and they stand a good chance of finishing in the top half of the table if they beat Aston Villa on Sunday.

Emery’s side, despite qualifying for the UEFA Champions League following Tottenham Hotspur’s failure to beat Manchester City in midweek, are currently enduring a poor run of form, which makes Crystal Palace slight favourites.

Quick stats

  • Crystal Palace are unbeaten in their last six Premier League matches, having recorded five wins and one draw
  • Aston Villa are experiencing their worst run of form since Unai Emery took charge after failing to win any of their last five matches in all competitions 
  • Crystal Palace have scored in each of their last seven matches, while Aston Villa have also failed to keep a clean sheet in their last seven games 
  • Aston Villa won six of their last 10 Premier League matches against Crystal Palace
  • Crystal Palace, however, hold the upper hand in this fixture at Selhurst Park, having won four of their last five home matches against Aston Villa.

Match preview

Crystal Palace will go into Sunday’s game against Aston Villa on the back of their best run in the Premier League this season. Glasner’s side were near the relegation zone just under three months ago but have since pulled clear of the teams at the bottom of the table.

This is largely due to their strong form in the latter part of the season. Crystal Palace’s last defeat in the Premier League came on 6 April when Manchester City beat them 2-4 at Selhurst Park. Since then, the Eagles have conquered all before them after going on a six-game unbeaten run.

In that period, they’ve recorded some huge results as well, including beating Liverpool at Anfield, thrashing West Ham 5-2, handing Newcastle United a 2-0 defeat and romping to a 4-0 win over Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United. Crystal Palace’s latest game was against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux, but they were just too much for the hosts as they secured another impressive 1-3 victory. 

Eagles boss Glasner, however, has the utmost respect for Aston Villa, who will be playing in the Champions League next season. While the Austrian will be aiming to get the three points on Sunday, he is in awe of Emery’s transformation of Aston Villa and believes his own side can emulate what the Spaniard has done with the Lions.

“When you see how the team [Aston Villa] is playing, you clearly see how they want to play, what they want to do in possession, what they want to do out of possession, how quick they are in transition with their players in offence… there is a clear structure in their game, over 100 minutes, always. And this is the responsibility of Unai Emery,” Glasner said ahead of the game against Villa, as quoted by Tribal Football.

“It's not just that he shows it now at Villa, he showed it in all the clubs before. I don't know how often he won the Europa League, he was in the semi-finals with Villarreal in the Champions League. 

“He is a great manager and he does an excellent, outstanding job at Villa. When they go from 17th to 4th… we are now 12th, so we should be better than first! We will make the same steps – I expect us winning the Premier League next season, definitely!”

Meanwhile, it is no coincidence that Crystal Palace’s upturn in fortunes has come at a time when Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze have returned to full fitness. The attacking duo of Nigerian descent have been the driving forces behind Crystal Palace’s resurgence and are a handful for any opponent. 

Since having both back in the team, the Eagles have been different beasts. With both players operating on either flank, Crystal Palace boast one of the most dynamic frontlines in the Premier League.

Injuries have robbed Olise of a consistent run this season, but he has still managed 10 goals and five assists in 18 Premier League matches and has been involved in four goals in his last two matches.

Eze is also enjoying a brilliant season that has seen him score nine goals and provide five assists. With Aston Villa currently struggling to keep clean sheets, Olise and Eze would relish facing the Lions in their current form when they face Emery’s side on Sunday. 

Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa H2H (Last 10 games)

September 16, 2023 – Aston Villa 3-1 Crystal Palace

March 4, 2023 – Aston Villa 1-0 Crystal Palace

August 20, 2022 – Crystal Palace 3-1 Aston Villa

May 15, 2022 – Aston Villa 1-1 Crystal Palace

November 27, 2021 – Crystal Palace 1-2 Aston Villa

May 16, 2021 – Crystal Palace 3-2 Aston Villa

December 26, 2020 – Aston Villa 3-0 Crystal Palace

July 12, 2020 – Aston Villa 2-0 Crystal Palace

August 31, 2019 – Crystal Palace 1-0 Aston Villa

January 12, 2016 – Aston Villa 1-0 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa prediction 

Crystal Palace’s home form has been very strong in recent weeks. The Eagles have found the back of the net 11 times in their last three home matches while conceding just twice. With Olise and Eze also currently in the form of their lives, it’s hard to see Aston Villa keeping a clean sheet at Selhurst Park.

The Lions have not been at their best in recent weeks and have nothing to play for ahead of the final day of the season after already booking their place in next season’s Champions League. Emery’s side wouldn’t roll the red carpet for Palace, though, but the Eagles are currently just too good and should be able to get the better of the struggling visitors.

Also, with the chance to finish at the top half of the table on the line, Glasner and his boys will be going for the kill. A 2-1 scoreline in favour of Crystal Palace could be on the cards. 

Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa predicted line-ups

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:

Henderson; Clyne, Andersen, Richards; Munoz, Lerma, Wharton, Mitchell; Olise, Eze, Mateta

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:

Martinez; Konsa, Carlos, Torres, Digne; Bailey, Tielemans, Luiz, McGinn; Diaby, Watkins

Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa preview & predicted XI: Can Olise and Eze secure top-half finish?
Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an Asante Kotoko fan and a passionate sports journalist with a little over five years of experience writing about African football.

His articles and features have been published in renowned news media like The Guardian, DW, Al Jazeera and Sportskeeda. His bylines can also be found in the UK journals World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.