Southampton make the trip to Selhurst Park on Saturday to face Crystal Palace and get their 2020/21 Premier League campaign underway.
Both sides will be wanting to start their league fixtures in the best possible way and build some early-season momentum towards successful years respectively.
Saints were victorious in this fixture back in the 2019/20 when goals from Nathan Redmond and Stuart Armstrong handed them a 2-0 win and provided another vital three points towards top-flight safety.
The start of this season is a little different for a number of reasons. The first fixture of a campaign is usually played at the beginning of August and in front of thousands of excited fans.
This time though, we are into September and fans will not be allowed back into stadiums until at least October due to Coronavirus restrictions. Saints and Palace will, of course, be used to this after completing 2019/20 in similar circumstances
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Ahead of their meeting this Saturday, it appears that both Ralph Hasenhuttl and Roy Hodgson will be without regular starters when they select their line-ups.
Saints will be missing Stuart Armstrong after the Scotland international picked up a leg muscle injury whilst away with his country last week (via southamptonfc.com).
This is a blow given that Armstrong became a great attacking threat for Saints at the back end of last season. Sofiane Boufal, Moussa Djenepo or Nathan Tella will likely be given the chance to operate in attacking-midfield alongside Nathan Redmond.
It remains to be seen whether Mohammed Salisu will play his first minutes in a red and white shirt this weekend but his involvement may be limited due to him only recently starting pre-season training.
Crystal Palace will be without first-choice left-back Patrick Van Aanholt due to the Dutchman’s lack of training time after a recent injury. Via cpfc.co.uk, Roy Hodgson is monitoring the fitness of no less than five defenders ahead of the opening day of the season.
Summer signing Eberechi Eze will be involved and Palace fans will be waiting to see if loan signing Michy Batshuayi is available for selection after joining on a temporary deal from Chelsea on Thursday.