Palace Home Troubles Continue
It’s becoming a familiar theme at Selhurst Park, where Palace are losing against much unfancied teams, and the defeat to Sunderland on Monday evening was just another cruel case of déjà-vu.
The script played out just like it did a year ago when a Sunderland side then managed by Gus Poyet came to Selhurst and recorded a 3-1 victory, to the dismay of the home fans.
But Monday night was worse than that night a year ago; Palace dominated the possession, and were the only team trying to win the game, but it all amounted to nothing as an unfortunate error by Scott Dann gave Jermain Defoe the chance to give the Black Cats all three points.
But what is worrying for Palace fans like me and all the rest of the Selhurst faithful is that this theme of struggling to break down teams at home is becoming all too familiar.
Whenever sides put eight or nine men behind the ball we just cannot break them down, and even with the French maestro Yohan Cabaye in the middle of the park, we could still not break them down.
I wish I had the answer, because if I did I would be the first one going to Beckenham to find Alan Pardew and telling him what we need to do, but the honest answer is I don’t know how to combat teams that will sit so deep.
On Monday our midfield was far too deep for my liking, Cabaye and James McArthur were sitting in the defensive role for the majority of the match. And come on let’s be honest it’s not like Sunderland have a David Silva or an Eden Hazard to help them unlock the door; they weren’t going to trouble us.
So why we had two holding midfielders was a little perplexing; I like Cabaye when he is in the No.10 role and I think we needed him higher up the pitch, and sooner on Monday night, because we might have been able to carve out that opening we so desperately needed.
I think the performance showed that Pardew and co are still lacking another creative spark in the middle of the field; and hopefully with the new investment on the horizon it might be something Pardew addresses in January.
I think Jason Puncheon is a fabulous footballer, and extremely underrated. But I think we need someone a bit different that can take people on in and around the box; I would love to see someone of Riyad Mahrez’s ilk at Palace.
The Algerian is a player that would be suited to Palace’s style of play, but with Leicester flying at the moment, that is unlikely – but I hope you get my gist, we need someone who is not afraid to take a risk in the central area.
Next-up Newcastle United
These two home games against North-East opposition were supposed to be a chance for six points, but it hasn’t worked out like that.
But Palace has the chance to take at least three points from two games as they host Pardew’s former club on Saturday.
Palace will have to be aware that Newcastle could do potentially what Sunderland did on Monday night and put men behind the ball, so it will be a test to see how Palace counter-act that.
Newcastle do have some lively attacking players, so I expect them to be a little more adventurous, but nonetheless they are scrapping at the bottom of the table, and will need the points.
I’m hoping Palace can bounce back and prove that they can unlock stubborn opposition, but I still have a doubt in my mind that Newcastle are going to come away with more than one point.
Ah, it’s just great being a football fan…