Crystal Palace still remain the only side in English football to not pick up a league win in 2016. The international break this week is a perfect opportunity for the players to take some time out to rethink what’s going wrong at the moment.
This winless streak just seems to stretch week in week out. The Eagles have not tasted victory in 13 league games and the international fixtures will give the players a great chance to take a break from the domestic league.
Nine players in total have been called up for international duty and maybe; just maybe, they can take some inspiration from their country’s results.
First-team players such as captain Mile Jedinak, Yannick Bolasie, Chung-yong Lee, Pape Souare, Yohan Cabaye, Joe Ledley and Wayne Hennessey are all in action over the next few days for their respective nations. Hopefully the players can produce some good performances and get some positive results which they can bring back with them when they return to SE25.
The Eagles’ next game is away at high-flying West Ham United. The Hammers have only suffered two defeats at home this season and I can’t really see Palace getting anything out of that game.
With only eight matches left of the season, it’s coming to the stage now where its make or break for the teams battling against relegation.
The game at home to Norwich City on April 9; in my opinion, is the biggest game of the season to date for Pardew’s men. The Eagles are five points clear of Norwich, albeit with a game in hand, but defeat against the Canaries at home will seriously drag Palace deep into the relegation mix.
It’s a game I shouldn’t even be talking about in that manner, the squad is nowhere near that of a relegation threatened team. With the likes of Cabaye, Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha, Jason Puncheon and many more, it is clear to see that the squad have enough quality to play for a number of Premier League sides.
It’s starting to get to the stage where Palace fans are relying on the teams below them to lose their games so the teams can’t gain any valuable points on them. I honestly can’t see a win coming from anywhere, the club just seem to have lost their way. The players have the Premier League experience, but they just can’t seem to express their talent and winning mentality.
I just don’t get it. I don’t think Pardew even gets it!
The single positive which can be taken over the last three months however is the fact that the club have reached their first FA Cup semi-final in 21 years after the 2-0 win away at Reading.
Watford await at Wembley; in what is a repeat of the 2013 Championship Play-Off final, which the Eagles won 1-0 thanks to Kevin Phillips’ extra-time penalty and it ended the Eagles’ eight-year absence from England’s top-flight.
Yes the trip allows the fans a day out to Wembley, which could prove very memorable in the club’s history, but at the same time you have got to be thinking of Premier League survival, there’s no point in winning the cup if you’re going to lose your top-flight status.
Home results have been appalling this season, the Eagles currently have the second worst home record in the league with only bottom club Aston Villa picking up less points on home soil. Pardew’s men have now suffered ten defeats in 16 home games this season, more than any other club in the Premier League.
The defeat to Leicester last weekend was Palace’s sixth consecutive home defeat and although the fans still sing loud and proud, which is why they are one of the best following in the Premier League, it is still unacceptable to be winless in the league since December 2015.
The performance against the league’s top side was one which showed positive signs and defender Damien Delaney almost rescued a point at the death, but once again no positive result was taken away from the game. Positive performances need to be turned into positive results, it’s been the same story over the last three months.
Palace’s only favour over the teams below them, is their superior goal difference. Pardew’s side currently have a goal difference of minus eight (-8) and have at least an eleven goal advantage on the teams below them.
If it wasn’t for the amazing run of results up until Christmas; well let’s just say, we wouldn’t be far off rock-bottom. Something just isn’t working, the players need to use this short break off to uncover the problems that are persisting week in week out.