Friday, April 1, 2016

Palace at Breaking Point

Hello and welcome. I bring you today’s installment of my grammatically incorrect blog post where I will be talking about Crystal Palace and their fall this season. After being in a Europa League position at Christmas they looked to be standing tall among some of the big hitters in the league but soon after they had found themselves on a downward spiral, seeing them pick up (if my maths is right) 4 points from a possible 39…

Now as the season has gone on my opinion has differed as to why this fall has come. At first I said it was Bolasie getting injured. The DR Congo international was putting in some stellar performances for the Eagles and looked to be the player to take them to the next level. Almost like Dimitri Payet for West Ham.

But now he’s back I can’t really fall on that excuse anymore. He’s still looking as tricky as ever, pulling off tricks and flicks so intricate that even Ronaldinho would think “fuck me, how’s he done that?” But sadly though the showboating counts for nothing when the side can’t stick the ball in the back of the net…

Which moves me swiftly onto the next thing I blamed for the London side’s demise...the lack of a goalscorer. Their most prolific goalscorer this season has been Connor Wickham who I’m not going to berate cause I love this kid after his day’s at Wednesday but with only 5 goals, it’s just not good enough.

The fact that their second top goalscorer is Scott Dann speaks volumes as to how poorly the club is doing. I’m sure I remember the last club to have a centre back in their top three goalscorers were Bolton the year they got relegated, this of course led to Gary Cahill being snapped up by Chelsea...dark possibility their for Palace.

I couldn’t believe that they passed up the opportunity to sign Charlie Austin. The former QPR and Burnley man had a cracking season in the Premier League the year before and was well on his way to becoming another England goalscoring star. Not featured much at Southampton but with players like Pelle, Mane and Long it was always going to be difficult to get in that side.

Or what about Benik Afobe? Eddie Howe needed a goalscorer to stand in for Callum Wilson and he went out and got one. Simple as. Or Gary Hooper? It pissed me off that Norwich have struggled for goals too and sold Hooper who’s been knocking them in for The Owls, deciding to stick with 30 goals a season Cameron Jerome…everytime I watch that man play he misses an open net. Probably just coincidence. But I digress.

I began to think that maybe the side were just low on confidence. After losing Bolasie the results dropped and seemingly so did heads. Now he’s back it’s probably only him thinking that they can get a result, that he can beat his man, that he can score from 30 yar...oh no, it’s in row Z...never mind.

As I said earlier I like Wickham. I think he has qualities to be a consistent goalscorer in the Premier League but he needs more creativity. Players like Zaha and Bolasie look good but they need that final ball. According to the CPFC website, Bolasie only has 2 league assists this season which isn’t as bad as Zaha who only has 1 in 29 league games…

The best way to combat this for me would be to play Cabaye in a much more advanced position. The French international has been used more in a deeper role since joining the side in the Summer which is strange after the success he had for Newcastle under Pardew was due to him given a creative role just behind the strikers.

Now I don’t want to sour this post by slating Pardew as a manager, I really don’t. I think he is a good manager. Good tactic of fast, tricky wingers to provide width and creativity with solid holding midfielders sure up the back line. He know’s how to build stability. But for me he has no plan B. If his tactic works then good but when it doesn’t he doesn’t really know what to do to turn it around...or at least that’s what it seems to me, I’m sure Palace fans will disagree.

If you give him a good side with some quality players in there his tactic should work with not trouble. A prime example of this being when he took Newcastle to the Europa League in 2012. Lads like Ben Arfa and Gutierrez on the wings, Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba up front combined with the creativity of Cabaye in that advanced role made Pardew’s tactic devastating that season.

To be fair Gutierrez and Ben Arfa’s final ball in wasn’t too cracking either. I said the other week about Ben Arfa that he could get you on the edge of your seat but didn’t really get you off it cheering. But playing Cabaye in the advanced role brought those two in and made them into cracking players that year.

Pardew hasn’t really got that level of player in front of him now at Palace though. I actually think this Palace side have a better back four, more solid, but having cabaye waste away next to Miles Jedinak in that deep role isn’t really helping. And of coure the strikers Palace have don’t really live up to Ba and Cisse.
~ Side note: I’ve not really got a problem with Jedinak, just think he’s painfully slow and it limits his footballing ability. Does a job but Palace should look for better in my opinion ~

Last thing I’m gonna do is rant about the signing of Adebayor. Like I stated before Palace needed goals so I was baffled to find out that Pardew had signed the biggest waste of space the Premier League has seen since El Hadji Diouf. Only works hard when he wants a contract or a new club...and can guarantee he’s one of the highest earners despite not doing much on the pitch.

But anyways hopefully the Eagles can fly high again by winging a result against West Ham on Saturday perching themselves back up in the nest of the Europa League places...I’m gonna stop with the bird references now. Best of luck to Palace, I think one more win would guarantee safety but best to win you’re last eight just in case.

~ Anyone who enjoyed this please follow me on Twitter @ThePenaltyKing1 or like me on Facebook at ~

Cheers for reading.

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