This weekend Crystal Palace welcome Norwich to Selhurst Park, and it is the biggest game of the season yet for the Eagles.
Last time out, Palace earned a 2-2 draw away at high-flying West Ham United; the Irons have only lost twice at home all season and the performance against one of the surprise teams this year is something which Pardew can take some confidence from.
Yes we did have the help of Mark Clattenburg, who harshly sent off midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate. Since then, the Senegal international has had his red card rescinded by the FA. It was a bit of luck that, perhaps, the club deserved as they haven’t had much recently. It was a huge point gained away at the Boleyn Ground though.
The Canaries have hit a good run of form of late and secured a last-minute 3-2 victory over relegation rivals Newcastle United which has boosted their hopes of retaining their top-flight status. The club are unbeaten in their last three and for only the second time this season, Alex Neil’s men have also recorded back-to-back victories. So they will be full of confidence going into Saturday’s key game in the fight to avoid relegation.
The positive Palace can look at though, is Norwich’s away record; City have only tasted victory three times on their travels this season. And only the bottom three have a worse away record.
The winless run still continues for Palace; they are still the only team in England to not pick up a league win in 2016. 14 matches now and counting…
Both sides met on the first day of the season and it was Palace who came away from Carrow Road with a 3-1 win, however things are slightly different this time around. Neither team will want to lose this game – a win for Palace and I believe they are all but safe in the Premier League for another season. A win for the visitors and they will move level on points with Palace and strengthen their position over the three teams below them.
Palace only have four wins at home this term – December 12 was the last league victory at Selhurst Park, a 1-0 win against Southampton – and it’s about time the fans finally had something to shout about at SE25.
The Eagles are currently seven points clear of the drop, albeit with a game in hand on some of the teams around them. Pardew’s men host Everton in that extra fixture in what will be an extremely tricky affair, although recent results against the Toffees have been very promising.
April is a huge month for the Eagles, with the games coming thick and fast. In total, Palace have six games to play – five league encounters and the trip to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final against fellow Premier League side, Watford.
Norwich, Everton, Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle all await this month in the Premier League. It really is make or break for Palace. By the end of this month it will be clear to see who has stayed up and who has fallen foul to relegation.
Back-to-back trips to Arsenal and Manchester United will provide tricky affairs which won’t really give the team that much hope, and I can only see consecutive defeats in those. The two key league games are against Norwich and Newcastle, which are both must-win if we are to keep the distance big enough to avoid the drop.
I do think Palace will finally end this winless streak, however it won’t be a pretty game against a team who are in a similar position. A draw wouldn’t be the end of the world for Palace and we know that they don’t like to do things the easy way. However, I just hope it will be a good weekend for the club and the fans.
As I said earlier, this is the biggest game of the season yet…