The fundamental problem with the international break is that it leaves a massive gap in between Palace matches. This latest break seems to have gone for an eternity – at least a handful of managers have been dismissed since our last match at Anfield. In fact it seems so long ago that we beat Liverpool that this notable achievement has been consigned to ancient history. Klopp’s team’s masterful dismantling of Man City at the Etihad is now the talk of the town, not a whisper of their loss at the hands of the Eagles two weeks ago.
You can see highlights of Crystal Palace’s superb 2-1 victory over Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool here; a game in which we proved beyond any doubt, that we’re good enough to mix it with the best teams in the league from week to week.
That performance away at Liverpool was a significant achievement as it is Liverpool’s only defeat in the eight matches of the early Klopp era. What was most impressive was how the team approached the second half. Pardew admitted that after Bolasie’s 20th minute opener “we then lost the ambition. Liverpool came on to us” and they duly equalised just before half time. The manager addressed the issue during the half time break and instructed the team to get back on to the front foot, which is exactly what they did, trading counter punches with Liverpool until Scott “Goal Machine” Dann notched the winner in 82nd minute.
Showing that sort of ambition is becoming the hallmark of Pardew’s Palace especially away from home where it is no longer the shutting up shop and hope to sneak a draw mentality of yesteryear. This team is gradually throwing off the shackles of an inferiority complex and beginning to believe in themselves. The missing piece of the jigsaw is the home form. Fortress Selhurst has been slightly weak in the last year or so and with only two wins at home this season after six matches is a poor return, especially for a top half team.
With both North East clubs visiting in the six days there is an opportunity to get the home form back on track. Sunderland are up first and they have Big Fat Sam at the helm but his honeymoon period ended abruptly at Goodison when they were hammered 6-2, so one can imagine there will be a focus on the finer aspects of bus parking by the Black Cats. Palace need to show how they can handle the still rare situation where we have more possession and how to use it effectively. Maybe this is time for Connor Wickham to return and haunt his former club and for a striker to score a league goal. Miracles can happen.
Richard Foster is a freelance football writer and author, who is a regular features contributor for The Guardian. He also writes for Sabotage Times and a variety of Palace blogs and fanzines.
The revised paperback edition of his latest book The Agony & The Ecstasy – A Comprehensive History of the Football League Play-Offs – is out now and available through usual bookshops, online & via Ockley Books – http://bit.ly/1SKsnfc.
Talking Balls! his sports quotes book, was published in September and is the perfect stocking filler for any sports fan this Christmas –http://amzn.to/1RjV7Lw
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