Crystal Palace-Swansea City Preview

The Associated Press

Their European adventure over, Swansea City now turn their attention to securing their top-flight status Sunday when they host Crystal Palace at Liberty Stadium.

After surprising many last year by winning the League Cup to claim a spot in the Europa League, the Swans (7-7-13) crashed out of the round of 32 on Thursday following their 3-1 loss at Napoli, which was also the aggregate total of the two-legged tie after a scoreless draw at Liberty Stadium. Swansea put themselves in good position to advance with a first-half equaliser from Jonathan de Guzman that provided a vital away goal.

The Swans, though, could not find a second to tie the match after conceding in the 78th minute, and their fate was sealed in injury time when Gokhan Inler scored for the Italian side.

"Everyone is gutted," de Guzman said. "We came here with great confidence, I think we showed that on the pitch. We played a lot of good football in the first leg, and we did the same here. We were dominating the game more or less, but if you don't take your chances you won't win the game.

Domestically, Swansea are 12th in the table on goal differential but only four points clear of the bottom three with 11 matches remaining. They have just two league wins and 10 points from their last 13 matches, but the taste of continental play has provided incentive to stay in the Premier League in hopes of making another such run in the future.

"The environment of European football is where you want to be," player-manager Gary Monk said. "It's the elite. It's been a great journey for everyone - for the club and the fans. After having a taste, of course you want more. Hopefully, going forward, we can achieve that."

The first step would be taking care of a Crystal Palace side in a more precarious position than Swansea, two points above the drop in 16th place with 26 points. The Eagles have won three of their last five league matches overall but have been dreadful on the road with 10 losses in their 12 matches and scored a league-low five goals away from Selhurst Park.

Crystal Palace (8-2-16) haven't tallied in their last three road matches, but those were against frontrunners Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Tony Pulis saw his team's good work against reigning champions Manchester United come undone in a six-minute span of the second half when they conceded a penalty kick to Robin van Persie and a volley by Wayne Rooney in a 2-0 defeat last Saturday.

"We knew the longer the game went on with being 0-0, the more opportunities we would get because United would press onto us," the manager said. "Like I say, they got a couple of goals and their second goal we could have done better with as well."

Offence has been a pressing issue for the Palace against Swansea, having failed to score in the last five matches between the teams. That includes four matches in the Championship before the Eagles gained promotion prior to this season, and the Swans welcomed them to the top flight with a 2-0 win at Selhurst Park in September on goals by Michu and Nathan Dyer early in each half.

What to Read Next