Crystal Palace’s winless streak now stretches to 12 games in the league; a run which dates back almost three months now, and honestly, at the moment they are the worst team in the division. The club are showing relegation form and it should be a cause for concern.
Three wins in the FA Cup against Premier League opposition prove that the squad have the quality, but for some reason they just can’t seem to carry that form into the league. The Eagles are the only team in English football to have not won a league game in 2016.
Football fans all around will tell you the ‘Alan Pardew Plummet’ has started. That’s what happens when he takes over at a club; he has good spells and when they’re good they’re great. However; when he has bad spells, well they’re the worst kind of bad spells.
I know the club are still in the cup and it’s all great but that doesn’t mean anything when the players can’t seem to get the results in the league. Against Sunderland; Connor Wickham’s brace put the side 2-1 up and Palace kept the Black Cats at bay until the last minute, when Fabio Borini struck to equalise in stoppage time. Two massive points were dropped during a great chance to distance themselves further away from the relegation zone. But that chance wasn’t taken.
Oh well, a lesson learned at least for next time…
No, the same thing happened again just five days later!
The defeat to ten-man Liverpool shows just how much the team have depleted since Christmas. Midfielder Joe Ledley put the Eagles 1-0 up at home and that was closely followed by a red card to James Milner.
Liverpool were a goal down and a man down, but Palace just didn’t show any forceful nature to kill the game off or attempt to keep hold of possession and hold out for the win. Instead, they let Liverpool control the game, have the ball and conceded a goal out of nothing after an embarrassing moment from goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
He was making his first start since the early stages of the season and left boss Pardew thinking exactly why he hasn’t been involved in the starting eleven.
Then in the dying seconds of the game, Damien Delaney slides in for an unnecessary challenge on Christian Benteke in the penalty box.
The debate still goes on as to whether or not it was a penalty, but who cares, we lost the game. We deserved to lose and the team deserve to be in the bottom-half of the table.
The post match interview with Pardew clearly showed that the manager is having a bad time and he is feeling the strain at the moment. He knows more than anyone that his players are struggling and that was the first sign since he’s been at the club that he’s feeling it at the moment.
December 28 – that was time the Eagles kept a clean sheet and since then, Palace have shipped 23 goals and averaged almost two goals conceded per game. This is something we didn’t see from August until December, the club were so defensively solid and tight at the back. The players were one of the stand out teams at that stage, but now they have the worst record in the league in 2016.
The club are currently in 15th place and nine points above the relegation zone, people are keeping fairly quiet on Palace’s potential relegation battle with only nine games left, but they are now very much involved in the mix. The next couples of games coming up for the Eagles are by no means easy; the likes of Leicester City, West Ham United, Norwich City, Arsenal and Everton all await. Honestly, I can only see Palace getting one potential win out of those games.
Earlier games this season against Leicester, West Ham, Norwich, Arsenal and Everton have only seen Palace pick up four points from a possible 15 and the club were in a better position during the earlier stages of the campaign. It’s going to be a tough few next weeks.
If Palace are to lose all those games and come away with nothing, it’ll be looking even more worrying down there. The club need to try something new to guide themselves away from the relegation zone. If it wasn’t for the bottom three’s bad form, the Eagles would surely be in the drop zone already and staring down into Championship contention.
I know I keep saying that something needs to change quickly, but there are only nine games left of the season and time is running out. If the players don’t get their act together then relegation could well be an issue.