By Simon Mills
All I want for Christmas is a Palace win… and it looks like Christmas has come early this year! After such a rocky couple of months, it was desperately needed and in typical Palace fashion it came against one of the more difficult teams in the division and it was an absolute battering score-line too. Granted, we were gifted at least one of the goals, but at the end of the day – who cares!
It comes at a most welcome time, with an important game up at Hull this weekend and then a stretch of fixtures against some of the division’s big hitters so that victory could be absolutely vital – and not just for the 3 points. I’ve talked about it before and it’s been done to death, how Pardew – and, consequently, his Palace team - tends to go on runs. Sequences of defeats and sequences of victories all lined up in a neat little row to make a definite pattern to our form guide.
I am rather weary of talking about games/teams where expectations are higher to achieve a win - the last time I did, saw us beaten at Turf Moor. However, It’s hard to pretend that the fans will be thinking anything other than ‘we should win this one’ as we prepare for our visit to the KC Stadium.
Hull is the only Premier League team with a poorer run of form than us as it stands, with just 1 win in their last 12 Premier League games (coincidently that one win came against Southampton) despite such a positive start to the season. A threadbare squad with a succession of painful injury woes - again, they make our problems seem insignificant! - will always going to struggle in the top division and the Tigers are certainly feeling the pain.
Having finally achieved our first clean sheet of the season after changes to the backline, and with the side still banging in the goals, spirits should be high. We have demonstrated our ability in front of goal throughout the season so far - no team outside the top 5 have scored more - so a tightening up at the back could lead to some very exciting times ahead.
It almost seems strange to be so optimistic after such a negative period, here’s that run talk again! I have to admit, I was getting a little carried away with the worry of it all and I was starting to have some rather major doubts. Truth be told, though, despite so many silly little mistakes leading to some truly terrible outcomes – we have never seemed to be that far away.
In our games against the top teams so far this season we were always in contention and only lost by the odd goal; the most frustrating thing for me was that you came away feeling we could and maybe even should have won those. With the likes of United, Chelsea and Arsenal all approaching, and our new setup of Tomkins, Dann, Delaney and Ward in place, combined with a couple of morale lifting performances, we could be lined up for some surprise results.
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