Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa: Can Villa gain a top half finish?

Dean Smith’s Aston Villa are seeking to finish their successful season off well, starting away at Crystal Palace.

When: Sunday, 16 May, 12:00 GMT

How to watch: Sky Sports

Best bets

Both teams to score at 8/11 (William Hill)

Match result - draw at 5/2 (Bet365)

Christian Benteke to score at anytime 12/5 (Paddy Power)

Palace in need of a summer rebuild

With both teams assured of safety, this match could provide clues as to how the sides are going to prepare for next season.

Aston Villa have made some shrewd acquisitions under Dean Smith, and none have been better than Emiliano Martinez, who arrived from Arsenal, and Ollie Watkins.

Villa's summer shopping list may include another striker, because even though Wesley has recently returned from a long-term injury, he did not necessarily hit the ground running in his first season at the club.

Another winger or attacking midfielder may also be on the agenda with Ross Barkley potentially departing the club after his loan spell from Chelsea, meaning Dean Smith's side may lack depth in the forward positions.

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith: There’s more to come from Ross Barkley
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith: There’s more to come from Ross Barkley

Crystal Palace are in need of a squad overhaul with many senior members of the squad seeing their contacts finish at the end of the 2020/21 season.

Patrick van Aanholt, Andros Townsend and Christian Benteke could all leave the club for free in the summer.

One piece of good news is that Eberechi Eze has a contract that runs until 2025, and Palace will likely be looking to build the squad around the exciting England Under-21 international.

Another key bit of business would be to keep local lad Wilfried Zaha, who has produced his best goalscoring season in a Premier League campaign.

Key positions for the London club to invest in seem to be right-back, centre-back and central midfield but with so many players due to leave an overhaul of the squad is seemingly essential.

Last three Premier League meetings

Aston Villa 3-0 Crystal Palace (December 26, 2020)

Boxing Day brought about Aston Villa's biggest win against their opponents since 1992 as they strolled to victory at Villa Park.

Winger Bertrand Traore broke the deadlock in only the fifth minute of the game before Tyrone Mings was sent off for the hosts for a foul on Wilfried Zaha before half time.

Centre-back Kortney Hause got a rare goal to stretch the lead to two goals and a wonderful finish from Anwar El Ghazi wrapped up the win to move Villa up to sixth in the table.

Aston Villa 2-0 Crystal Palace (July 12, 2020)

David Trezeguet scored a brace to help his team's fight against relegation. In completely contrasting circumstances to the present day, Villa found themselves four points from safety with only three games left.

It was their first win in 11 games and, in an entertaining match, Trezeguet shone, scoring a side-footed attempt before half time and then toe-poking in after the break.

Christian Benteke was sent off against his former club in injury time to add to the away sides' woes.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Aston Villa (August 31, 2019)

The last time these teams met at Selhurst Park it was Roy Hodgson's side who took home the spoils.

In what was a controversial match, Jordan Ayew's goal in the 73rd minute won the game to move Palace up to fourth in the table, albeit with only four games played.

Trezeguet was sent off for Aston Villa within 10 minutes of the second half and they were denied an equaliser when Jack Grealish was deemed to have dived before Henri Lansbury put the ball in the net in the closing minutes, with a free kick given to Palace instead.

Premier League head-to-head

Played: 17

Crystal Palace wins: 6

Draws: 5

Aston Villa wins: 6

Crystal Palace scored: 12

Aston Villa scored: 17

Hodgson to leave at the end of the season?

Roy Hodgson has been at Crystal Palace since 2017 and many think that he has brought the club as far as he can given the resources and players available to him.

The 73-year-old reiterated his stance of getting Palace as high up the table this season as he could but also refused to comment on his own future.

Many expect the club to next employ a younger manager with new ideas to replace the former England manager, with Frank Lampard one of the main contenders.

Lampard was sacked by Chelsea earlier in the season, and an opportunity like this at Crystal Palace could be just the chance he needs to prove himself.

From Frank Lampard to Steve Cooper – the contenders for England Under-21s job
From Frank Lampard to Steve Cooper – the contenders for England Under-21s job

Sky Bet have Lampard as short as 1/2 for his next job to be at Crystal Palace.

Another exciting manager is Valerien Ismael, who has led Barnsley to the Championship play-offs this season. Ismael had a spell at Palace in 1998 making only 13 appearances after being their club record signing at the time.

Ismael is currently 5/1 to be the next manager of The Eagles with Betfair.

Other managers who are prominent in the betting are: Sean Dyche (10/3), Eddie Howe (17/2) and Steve Cooper (17/2).

Scoreline prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Aston Villa

In the past, these sides have always been well-matched, so a draw seems like the most likely outcome.

Villa have had a tough schedule after playing on Thursday night against Everton meaniing Sunday's game may not prove to be the easiest.

Goalscorer bets

West Brom would be interested in Christian Benteke if available – Sam Allardyce
West Brom would be interested in Christian Benteke if available – Sam Allardyce

Former Villain Christian Benteke is in a rich vein of form, once again scoring in The Eagles' previous match with Southampton.

Palace's striker is worth backing to score at 12/5 with Paddy Power.

John McGinn pops up with a few goals from midfield and the Scotland international is 8/1 to score at anytime with Unibet.