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Sunday 22 January 2017

Allardyce targets Swans in battle for survival

Sam Allardyce
Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce has identified tonight's home showdown with Swansea as being crucial to Crystal Palace's hopes of surviving in the Premier League.

Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Arsenal left Allardyce's new club in 17th place and with a total of only 16 points from 19 games.

Swansea are widely expected to appoint a new manager of their own by this evening, but Allardyce is wary of the need to win if Palace are to climb clear of the bottom three. He has already complained that Swansea have had an additional day's preparation for this fixture, and to that end made second-half changes at Arsenal to protect three of his players.

They were convincingly outplayed at the Emirates, but Allardyce is adamant any points taken from the division's top six can only be considered a "bonus" because it is results secured against those club around them which will define their season.

"Our players need to get ready for Swansea - that's the big game they need to win," said Allardyce.

"Watching Premier League football this year, the top six are so much better than last year so it's always hard to pick up points against them.

"Our big game's on Tuesday, there's no doubt about it. We're going to survive by beating teams in the bottom half.

"If we get a victory against one of the top boys that'll be the added bonus to get us safe quicker. It's been so long since Palace have gone on an extended run of good results."

Christian Benteke, Andros Townsend and Yohan Cabaye were the three players Allardyce substituted at Arsenal and each is expected to retain their place against Swansea.

Ireland's Damien Delaney is available again after suspension.

Crystal Palace v Swansea

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