Crystal Palace begin their quest to move up the Premier League standings with a home game against mid-table Leeds at Selhurst Park on Sunday.
The Eagles sit in 17th place heading into the final round of games after facing four of the so-called ‘big six’ in their first seven games.
Patrick Vieira’s side now face seven straight games against teams in the bottom half of the table in the run up to the World Cup and will be looking for maximum points in all of them.
Palace started brilliantly once again in last weekend’s 2-1 loss to Chelsea, but have become prone to letting any leads slip away this season.
The Leeds visitors have lost their way since beating Chelsea at Elland Road in August, collecting just two points from their next four games, and had to batten down the hatches after being reduced to 10 men against Aston Villa last Sunday.
Crystal Palace vs Leeds (Sunday, 2 p.m.)
Palace will be without Nathaniel Clyne, who suffered an ankle injury against Chelsea, but Joachim Anderson, who suffered a calf problem in training last week, has not been ruled out.
Vieira said the Denmark international has trained in recent days and “looks good”.
James Tomkins is the other candidate to start alongside Marc Guehi at central defense with Joel Ward dragging his feet to replace right back.
Vieira’s bold set-up against Chelsea featured both Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze ahead of Cheick Doucoure in midfield, but Jeffrey Schlupp remains an option if the Frenchman decides to go with a more solid look.
Jordan Ayew could also change places to suit Vieira’s tactical idea, but he seems more likely to stay on the wing in a front three consisting of Wilfried Zaha and, after his goal against Chelsea last weekend, Odsonne Edouard.
Jack Butland, Nathan Ferguson and James McArthur, who have yet to appear this season, remain unavailable.
Leeds will be without the summer signing of Luis Sinisterra after the Colombian saw red against Aston Villa last weekend.
Crysencio Summerville and Wilfried Gnonto are among similar replacements available for head coach Jesse Marsch, who has indicated the Italian is more likely to come into the fold.
Patrick Bamford, who did not start against Villa after suffering a knock prior to the match, can return to the XI alongside Rodrigo and Jack Harrison in attack, with Mateusz Klich another option to bolster the midfield if Marsch goes another route.
Stuart Dallas had a minor procedure this week and is considered to be a couple of months away from returning, while Adam Forshaw is a month away from recovering from his hernia operation.
Crystal Palace have dropped 13 points from winning positions in their last nine Premier League games.
The Eagles have scored the opening goal in four of their last six league games, conceding first in one while the other ended 0-0.
Leeds have kept just one clean sheet in their last 16 Premier League games in London (W3 D1 L12), which came via a goalless draw at Selhurst Park in April last season.
The Whites are undefeated in their last four Premier League games played on Sunday, winning two and drawing two.
More fouls were committed in the goalless draw between Leeds and Aston Villa than in any other Premier League game so far this season (35).
The ball has been in play, on average, for just 50 minutes and nine seconds in Leeds’ Premier League games so far this season, two minutes fewer than any other team.
Palace played well for long stretches of last week’s home loss to Chelsea and, on the whole, have been far better than their humble league placement suggests.
Vieira has them playing attractive football that has not always been rewarded with goals, although they have registered two more goals than they had in the same stadium last season on a more complicated schedule.
Leeds’ work-rate and intensity seem to be slipping a bit after a hectic start to the season, illustrated by Marsch’s side facing 13 shots on goal in their last two games after allowing just 15 in their previous five.
The Eagles are a worthwhile favorite to take all three points on Saturday and appeal with odds. 21/20 to do the business.
And given the worrying decrease in whites in the prevention of own shots, a 1/2 quoting Palace to pepper Leeds’ goal with 5+ shots on target also looks playable.