Bukayo Saka vs Patrick van Aanholt
When Palace spring into breakaway mode, Patrick van Aanholt is the full-back given license to join the raiding party. Lightening quick and attack-minded, it’s not uncommon for him to make up part of a three or four-man counter-attack with other members of the Eagles side dropping back to cover for him.
His pace is a danger, but he’ll be more worried about Bukayo Saka coming at him.
With Saka finding a new groove on the right wing – position he’s been fielded in previously and performed admirably – the Dutch full-back will be having far more defensive duties to be handling on Thursday than he’d normally like.
Saka is in the best form of his life. For a player never overawed by the occasion or the calibre of opposition, even he has found a new level spurred on by his sky-high confidence that would strike fear into any defender.
Out on the right he’ll look to drop off and work in the half-spaces, in a similar vein to when he plays in midfield, yet in recent weeks we’ve seen him attack the channels and look to get in behind the opposition full-backs.
Van Aanholt is a better defender than he’s given credit for. If Saka can keep him pinned back and reserved in his normal attacking approach, half of the overall battle will be won.