Crystal Palace finally claimed back-to-back wins in the Premier League for the first time since December 2015 after a 2-1 away victory at Middlesbrough and a convincing 4-1 home rout of Stoke City.
Christian Benteke scored his first goal for the club and the Belgian forward looks like he is really settling into life at Palace.
The manager, Alan Pardew, has addressed the forward’s style of play and it is clear to see the players around the front man are working hard and playing to his strengths.
Wilfried Zaha, who was very much unsettled after Tottenham expressed their interest in the winger, has since turned a corner and has really stepped up his game over the last few weeks.
He put in a Man of the Match performance away at the Riverside and it really has been the perfect response from the 23-year-old. It’s good to see that despite all the speculation surrounding him, he is still willing to give 100 per cent week in week out for Crystal Palace.
Zaha came up through the academy and he really is one of the most important players in the squad.
I just hope he doesn’t decide to leave at the end of the season. Mauricio Pochettino expressed his admiration of the young winger, who has made one appearance for the England national team. The temptation of Champions League football and a potential shot at the Premier League trophy would be too much for any player, however, Pardew and co-chairman Steve Parish remained adamant in not selling the club’s current Player of the Year.
It would take £50m for Zaha to leave according to Pardew, but I am confident an increased bid from Spurs could see the former Manchester United player pack up his bags and move to North London.
Potentially losing Zaha after the departure of Yannick Bolasie really would have been a low blow for the Eagles, but it looks like he is willing to give his all for the club and long may it continue. Hopefully a strong campaign this term could make him think twice if another top-flight club come knocking on the door.
Another player who is finally finding his feet is Andros Townsend, his Man of the Match performance against Stoke is what the Palace fans have been waiting for. His pace, goalscoring ability, willingness to take on defenders and dead ball set-pieces are what the Eagles have needed in the final third of the pitch.
He opened up his account with a fine solo goal this weekend and I have a feeling that won’t be the last of his goal contributions for the 2016/17 term.
Next up in the league is an away trip to the North East against David Moyes’ Sunderland. The Black Cats are winless this season and lie 19th with just a single point to their name. I’m expecting a comfortable Palace win there, which would make it three victories on the trot, a feat which hasn’t been achieved since April 2015.
The club will need to gather some momentum as Everton await at the end of this month and Ronald Koeman really has got things going at Goodison Park.
It will be an extremely difficult game there, although the Eagles are unbeaten in their last few seasons on their travels to the Toffees. As long as Bolasie doesn’t find the back of the net, then I think we’ll all be fine.
It was only a few weeks ago I was questioning Pardew’s comments about a ‘transitional period’, but I’m starting to finally understand what he is trying to achieve at Palace. With the new additions to the squad and the departure of a few players, the style of play has needed to change slightly and Pardew spoke about how it would take a couple of weeks for the players to finally get it right.
With two wins on the bounce – a small achievement I know – but one which has been a major struggle to surface, it could finally be the start of the ‘new’ Palace. The results are finally beginning to improve and let’s just hope the cracks of the second-half of last season stay in the past.
The club lie in eighth position after five games. I’ll take that, most Palace fans will take that and to be honest I’m pretty sure Pardew will take that.