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Crystal Palace (H) match preview

16 February 2019

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Rovers will look to create another piece of Emirates FA Cup history when they host Premier League outfit Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Rovers reached the fifth-round stage for the first time in over 60 years last month when they defeated Sky Bet League Two side Oldham Athletic at the Keepmoat Stadium, with Ben Whiteman at the double, including a last-minute penalty, to put his team through.

Palace, meanwhile, managed to get through a home tie of their own, beating fellow Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 thanks to goals from Connor Wickham and Andros Townsend.

Brief history of Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace play at the 26,074-capacity Selhurst Park stadium, which has been their home since 1924.

They are nicknamed the Eagles, and this stems from former manager Malcolm Allison who deemed it worthwhile – in common with other clubs at the time – to alter the club nickname, crest and the image of the club, and from there on in, Palace were known as the Eagles.

Palace have been back in the top flight of English football since 2013, having achieved promotion from the Championship via the play-offs at Wembley Stadium thanks to Kevin Phillips’ penalty in extra time. Last season, the Eagles finished in 11th in the Premier League, marking a brilliant turn around from a dismal start to the campaign that saw them lose their first seven games.

The Eagles are yet to win the FA Cup, though they have made it to the final twice, in 1990 and 2016, losing out to Manchester United on both occasions at both the old and new Wembley, though the first final between the two was decided after a replay.

The Eagles team that started the 1990 final was also the last time that a team has fielded an -all-English side in an FA Cup final, whilst the United side was the last all-British side to win the FA Cup.

Who’s the gaffer?

Former England boss Roy Hodgson is the man in the Eagles’ dugout, having taken charge of the Selhurst Park outfit in September 2017. The experienced manager has taken charge of teams all around the world, with Palace being his 20th side.

Hodgson has also taken of three international sides, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and England, also taking caretaker charge of the England under-21s for a brief spell, leading the England senior side at both Euro 2012 and Euro 2016, as well as the 2014 World Cup.

Whilst with Palace, Hodgson has overseen 68 games, winning 23, drawing 17 and losing 28, leaving him with a total win percentage of 33.8 per cent.

Ones to watch

Andros Townsend

The Eagles winger is a 13-time England international, and joined the Selhurst Park outfit on a five-year deal in the summer of 2016. Townsend came through the ranks at Tottenham Hotspur, though spent no less than nine times away from North London on loan, playing for the likes of Yeovil Town, Leyton Orient, Leeds United and Birmingham City amongst others. Townsend became a regular in Spurs’ Europa League side in the 2011/12 season, though he would have to wait a couple more seasons to truly establish himself at White Hart Lane, helping Spurs to the League Cup final in 2015. Townsend signed for Newcastle United in January 2016, though suffered relegation from the top flight with the Magpies that May, going on to join Palace in a £13 million deal. Townsend is known for scoring some stunning goals both at club and international level, including a wonder strike against current Premier League champions Manchester City back in December in a 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium.

Michy Batshuayi

The Belgian forward is currently on loan at the Eagles from Chelsea until the end of the 2018/19 season. Batshuayi was part of the Belgium squad that finished third at last year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia, scoring in their 5-2 win over Tunisia in the group stages. He made his professional debut for Standard Liege in his home country back in 2011, and his impressive form in front of goal saw him earn a transfer to Marseille in 2014. He was picked up by Chelsea in 2016 for £33.2 million, signing a five-year deal at Stamford Bridge. With chances limited in West London, Batshuayi has spent time on loan at German side Borussia Dortmund and Spanish side Valencia over the past 12 months. After scoring for Valencia in a 1-1 draw against Celta de Vigo, he became the first player in the 21st century to score in the top divisions of France, England, Germany and Spain. He joined the Eagles on deadline day last month and made his debut in their 2-0 win over Fulham at Selhurst Park.

Patrick van Aanholt

The Dutch international left-back joined the Eagles in January 2017 on a four-and-a-half-year deal from Sunderland. Van Aanholt began his professional career with Chelsea, though much of his time with the Premier League giants was spent away from Stamford Bridge, spending time with Coventry City and Leicester City amongst others. Following the conclusion of a two-year loan spell at Vitesse Arnhem in his homeland, van Aanholt joined Sunderland in 2014, initially putting pen to paper on a two-year deal which would later be extended. Palace came calling in late January 2017 as they looked to secure Premier League survival, scoring his first goal against relegation rivals Middlesbrough the following month. Van Aanholt has represented the Netherlands at every level from under-16’s to the senior squad, making his debut in a friendly against Columbia in 2013.

Who’s the ref?

Experienced referee Mike Dean will be the man in the middle when the two sides meet on Sunday, and you can read more about him here.

Last time out

Crystal Palace were held to a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park by Rovers when the two sides met during the 2011/12 season. Jermaine Easter put the Eagles in front before Chris Brown got Rovers level with 14 minutes left to play in March 2012.

This came after Rovers beat Palace at home earlier in the season, in what was Rovers last win at home over the Eagles, with John Oster’s goal the difference between the two sides back in September 2011.

Supporters are reminded that Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup fifth round tie with Premier League side Crystal Palace is SOLD OUT. Supporters are asked to leave plenty of time to make their way to the game, and you can read more information around Sunday’s game here.


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