In the latest edition of From The Stands, Simon Mills reflects on the signing of Emmanuel Adebayor and a look ahead to the FA Cup tie against Stoke City.
So the run of defeats continues, but I was far more impressed with our performance against Spurs than I have been in recent weeks and, had the rub of the green favoured us, it would have been Palace walking away as 3-1 victors. A superb Hugo Lloris performance, two outstanding goals and that damned crossbar denied us our first win in what seems like forever.
There were certainly plenty of positives to take from the game. Despite conceding three goals, Wayne Hennessey was back to his best (in my honest opinion, there was nothing he could have done about any of them, including the first), Wilfried Zaha was again showing his class and looked a real threat throughout and we were creating far more chances than we have done in recent weeks. Ultimately though, we still come back to the same problem; the lack of a goal scorer.
I believe we have tajen a giant leap forward to solving that problem with the addition of a certain Emmanuel Adebayor. A player who has terrific ability and certainly knows his way to goal, having scored 96 Premier League goals in 230 appearances (a record of close to 1 in 2.4 games!) These are some of the reasons that last week I put him at the top of my list of players I thought we should sign. It’s nice to see the club values my suggestions and for my next recommendation, there’s a lad at Barcelona called Messi I believe could do a job for us…
The next big question (other than 'Will we see any more arrivals?' – I think most fans would still like to see one more striker if possible!) is when will Adebayor be ready to play a meaningful role? Naturally, the desire is to see him as soon as possible and it would go a long way to alleviate some concerns over his match fitness if we could see him sooner rather than later. With the absence of Connor Wickham, after his disappointing elbow at the weekend, and with both Yannick Bolasie and Bakary Sako missing until the end of next month we could certainly do with another option and quick.
This weekend's game at Stoke in the FA Cup could prove just a little too early for Emmanuel, although I pray I am wrong. Although, the news that Dwight Gayle returned to training last week could be a very welcome relief – we certainly need someone to change our goal scoring fortunes.
Stoke are never an easy team to face, they have become a real force since Mark Hughes took over – a man we, of course, have a history with in this competition! However, with a full week to prepare for this game and with Stoke being taken all the way to an emotionally draining defeat on penalties away to Liverpool in the League Cup this week, we would certainly appear to have a distinct advantage.
There certainly remains a real possibility for us to continue our cup run, something I am desperate for us to do as the last time we did in 1990 I was too young to attend the final. Another almost moment, many fans I’m sure could point to, came 40 years ago as Palace were defeated 2-0 by Southampton in the semi-final. How we can all dream of similar occasions, but this time going even further and with the possibility of players like Yohan Cabaye and Adebayor now in the team, we have a wonderful opportunity to do so.
In ‘76, both Palace and Stoke progressed from the 3rd round courtesy of 2-1 victories; for Palace it was an away win at Scarborough, whilst Stoke were victorious in a home replay against Tottenham (following a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane). The same can be said of course this year as we beat the Saints (our 1976 heart breakers), while Stoke progressed ahead of Doncaster (albeit without the need for a replay!) I’d happily take a repeat of our 4th round 1-0 win (against Leeds) from that year on Saturday to take us two games away from another semi-final.
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