It’s oh so typically Palace, isn’t it?! Four points from Manchester United and Liverpool with two outstanding performances, the chance to move into 6th and a home game against the team second bottom in the table without an away win all season… Of course we had to go and lose! To a goal, we might as well have booted into our own net for the help we provided in Defoe’s winner.
Naturally, people feel low after a game and a performance (probably our worst this year) like that. The best thing to do is accept it for what it is, a bad night at the office and move on. I was a little disconcerted reading some of the fan forums afterwards, however, with the number of supporters making wild suggestions all on the back of one game – “drop them”, “they’re good not good enough” etc. That, combined with what could be described as one of our less ferocious atmospheres at Selhurst, worries me that perhaps we are being spoiled a little. So let’s get behind the lads again, they need our full on support every week – starting with another battle with the basement game against Newcastle.
If Monday’s game did anything, it would surely have given us a kick in the complacency. Just because a team is at the wrong end of the table doesn’t mean we are going to cruise through the 90 minutes and walk out with a comfortable victory at the end of it. These teams are fighting for their lives and desperate for every win, they won’t be making it easy for us and we need to make it just as hard for them – that’s when the quality we have will show and how we will get the result we want.
There is an extra edge to this one with Alan Pardew’s former employees coming to town and their supporters, who seem to blame their old manager for everything including the sacking of Rome! To his credit, Alan has remained classy whenever his old club is mentioned, never accepting the opportunity to take a swipe at his old ‘supporters’ who even now are happy to see the back of him, despite their current predicament. The talk in the media today, is of a bust-up during training between his replacement Steve McClaren and several senior players - things certainly haven’t gone quite to plan since Super Al left them.
It was great to see Connor Wickham and Marouane Chamakh back in action on Monday, even if they did look a little rusty. Game time is exactly what they need and I can’t wait until they are both back fully firing. A much improved cameo from Patrick Bamford gives some hope that we may have a real bit of competition at the end of the pitch we have struggled with this season. Competition for players in those advanced positions can only be a good thing and, with a misfiring Jason Puncheon subbed at half-time this week, one hopes this can inspire every player to push that little bit harder.
I can’t wait for this game, a chance to banish those Sunderland memories, an opportunity for the players to give a response and demonstrate that the performance was indeed a one off. Newcastle seem to be in disarray, unable to buy themselves a point lately and everything just seems to be going wrong. All the pundits and bookies will all have us down for a home win, Paul Merson has already predicted a conservative 2-0 but claimed we could score a hatful. It’s all set up, the stage is set for a great game, performance of the season and a very handsome Palace win to fire us right back into the mix…
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