Both Crystal Palace and Burnley were dumped out of the F.A. Cup by fellow Premier League opposition last weekend although whisper it quietly and certainly in the case of the former there will not be all that many tears cried because of it.
This afternoon sees the resumption of top flight action for both clubs with Selhurst Park being the setting as the two sides face off. For Crystal Palace it is a chance to earn the points that will move them further up the table, while for Burnley it is a chance to return to winning ways.
Roy Hodgson’s men come into this game having lost to their bitter rivals Brighton on Monday and although it is a defeat that will rankle due to the rivalry between the two clubs, the focus will have been quickly restored to the main task in hand, that of course being avoiding the drop this season.
A task that seems a lot more likely after their current league placing of 14th. That was thanks to a 2-1 away win over Southampton on January 2nd and one where there would have to come behind to earn all three points and it is a victory that cannot be understated either.
Had Southampton held out for the win after going ahead then it is a result that would have seen Palace once again drop into the bottom three of the table and although the Eagles may be soaring in 14th at the moment they are only two points clear of the dropzone.
That sums up the magnitude of the task that the South London outfit sill have in a bid to beat the drop this season, however at the same time it also sums up the job that Roy Hodgson has done since taking charge of the club earlier in this campaign.
A win today could even see them move up into the top half of the table at the expense of Watford and you do get the feeling that the belief is there in this squad with the players looking at the situation ahead of them rather than over their shoulders.
Today’s visit of Burnley will be an interesting one as the Clarets form has just stuttered as of late as they begin to be cast adrift of the top six clubs in the table. For them the threat of relegation is non-existent but that does not mean they can take their foot off the pedal.
Should the domestic cup winners land in their favour then 7th place would pay out a Europa League spot next season so there is still very much everything to play for even if the main objective has already been achieved with relative ease.
The Lancashire outfit have not won any of their last five Premier League outings and although Tottenham and Manchester United were in that quintet of fixtures there will still be an element of frustration that their season has hit the skids at present.
Last weekend they had the unenviable task of having to go to the Etihad and face Manchester City in the F.A. Cup and when Ashley Barnes opened the scoring in the first half, it is fair to say that the attention of football fans was on this game with a potential upset on the cards.
Unfortunately though for them Pep Guardiola’s footballing juggernaut finally managed to go up through the gears and score four unanswered goals as any hope of stopping City from winning an incredible quadruple were extinguished.
Last season Burnley picked up their first away win of the season at Selhurst Park, one that did not come as late as April. Thankfully they do not have the same road issues this time around but I don’t think there will be a repeat of that outcome, I think Palace’s slightly better form and home advantage will see them earn all three points.