Crystal Palace kick off the new Premier League campaign with the visit of Southampton to Selhurst Park.
Palace fans were left disappointed at the end of last season, suffering 7 successive league defeats before drawing one a piece with Tottenham on the final day.
That wretched run decimated any outside hopes of European qualification for the Eagles, who lurched to a 14th placed finish.
There is renewed hope at Selhurst Park this time around, though, as despite the difficult financial landscape regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, the club have decided to invest in the playing staff.
Manager Roy Hodgson, now in his mid-seventies, has made no secret of his desire for new players at Crystal Palace, who have one of the older squads in the Premier League.
That average age has dropped this summer though with the additions of exciting Championship duo Ebere Eze and Nathan Ferguson from Queens Park Rangers and West Bromwich Albion respectively.
In terms of team news, however, it is touch and go as to whether Eze makes his competitive bow – he has recently returned to training following a groin injury sustained in pre-season. Ferguson though will play no part against Southampton with a knee issue.
One of Hodgson’s biggest conundrums last campaign was Palace’s lack of goals – only bottom-placed Norwich City scored fewer in 2019/20.
The former England boss will be hoping then that the addition of Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi on a loan deal can increase the Eagles’ cutting edge.
For Southampton, their impressive performances in the home straight of last season secured them an 11th placed finish after early relegation fears.
The fine form of striker Danny Ings during that period earnt him his first England call-up since 2015, although he was only afforded 22 minutes of game time by boss Gareth Southgate.
On the transfer front things have been much quieter at St Mary’s than their South London opponents, with just Kyle Walker-Peters making a loan switch from Spurs permanent and Mohammed Salisu arriving from Real Valladolid.
Club captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg also departed the club in the deal which brought Walker-Peters to the South Coast.
Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl will take on Palace without midfielder Stuart Armstrong, who picked up a hamstring strain whilst on international duty with Scotland.
Injuries are a far bigger concern for Eagles boss Hodgson though, who will be missing Christian Benteke, Gary Cahill, Patrick van Aanholt and James Tomkins who are all nursing problems from last season.
Crystal Palace v Southampton at Selhurst Park is a 1500 kick off in the Premier League.