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From The Stands

3 February 2016

Fan blogger Simon Mills pens his latest words on the team's performances as we go into February.
Before Christmas we were absolutely flying; fifth in the league, above Man United and dreaming of a place in Europe come May. Now it seems to be coming apart at the seams and our 2-1 defeat at the hands of Bournemouth at Selhurst was the latest in a series of disappointing outcomes. What’s worse, our injury problems, which we can point to as a chief concern as we look to right our increasing woes, show no signs of abating with both James McArthur and Jason Puncheon adding to our casualty list.
I certainly won’t be alone as I ponder what is behind the sheer volume of injury problems we have had this season. Looking at our squad, I can only think of Wilfried Zaha who has been spared a spell on the sidelines thus far from our regular starting line-up (start frantically touching every wooden object in sight), which is just as well given he is looking like one of our most threatening players of late. So what exactly is going on? It can’t be pure luck, finally catching up with us after two years of rather splendid fortune without a major injury.
Trying to be positive, Yohan Cabaye only failed a fitness test yesterday so fingers crossed he should return for the weekend, Yannick Bolasie should be back by the end of the month and one would seriously hope we can say the same (if not sooner) for Bakary Sako, Dwight Gayle, James McArthur and Jason Puncheon (here’s hoping the latter’s form improves at the same time!) The other bright side was our first glimpse of Emmanuel Adebayor, who looks like he has a real touch of class and when he is back to his best we could have a real beast of a player.
Looking at the game itself, I was a little disappointed after such a good start in which we created some excellent early opportunities by way of neat intricate passing and moving, we then reverted to longer balls or misplacing passes over a distance of five-15 yards – something we should not and cannot do at this level. Bournemouth, albeit not the worst team I have seen at Selhurst, were there for the taking and instead of pushing on with our advantage and wrapping the game up comfortably, we somehow managed to self-destruct and let another three points slip from our fingers.
Zaha was undoubtedly our star man and, for my money, man of the match, despite the countless kicks he took and lack of protection offered by yet another match official seemingly unable to deliver what should be expected of a professional in the Premier League. I really felt for Wilf who ran Bournemouth ragged down both flanks, escaping his player time after time only to be unceremoniously put on the floor by whatever means necessary. How it took the referee until the 65th minute to show the first yellow card is beyond me - not to mention just a yellow for another professional foul this week!
That said, the blame can’t always lie with the referee and I don’t think too many of us will argue that ultimately on the day we just weren’t good enough to take the points from a clinical Bournemouth side.
I was asked to write about the comings and goings of transfer deadline day… unfortunately, my suggested transfer of Messi to Palace didn’t come about – I hear he was eager to come, but after taking one look at Brighty’s shoes insisted he couldn’t come to a club where fashion sense was in such short supply. At least that’s what Frazier Campbell told me!
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