First up I would like to dedicate this preview to Mr. Andy Walker, a fellow Palace fan who dug me out of a massive hole when I failed to get a ticket for my son for the Newcastle game and Sir Andy, as I like to call him now, came up trumps with a spare ticket; hopefully this magnanimous gesture will find its justified reward in a win against Newcastle.
This statistical breakdown of our season so far gives you a chance to delve fully into the reasons for our infuriatingly stop-start opening to the 2015/16 Premier League campaign. It’s not straightforward, but there are certainly some trends we must work to eradicate.
After Monday’s toothless, listless, pointless performance against fellow struggling North Easterners Sunderland, this is hopefully time for redemption. I have to admit I was not at Selhurst because I was elsewhere but I am reliably informed by Graham Smith & Elliot Steel whom I met to record the Palace Podcast that we were pretty poor and Wickham did not look like a multi-million pound striker.
Naturally, Newcastle are going to be fired up for this encounter as they come up against their old boss in Pardew and erstwhile team mate Yohan Cabaye. Whatever happens they will not be lacking in motivation will the Geordies as there’s nothing like reuniting with former colleagues to stir the emotions, I’m sure the United fans will greet Cabaye with a sea of vitriol and venom as is their wont. It would be reassuring to feel that Premier League players should not really require extra motivation to ply their trade but sometimes you have to wonder.
Palace are in danger of being frustratingly, maddeningly inconsistent. Quite how a team can inflict Jurgen Klopp’s one and only defeat at Anfield and then lose at home to a Sunderland side that had trouble winning a raffle is beyond the wit of most men. But we do have players who can look like Messi one minute then a real mess the next. Bolasie is the prime example of a curate’s egg of a player; he really needs to start working on being more consistent.
Pardew will want to lord it over a club who gave him a pretty rough ride in the last year or so of his tenure at St. James Park and he must instil that spirit in the players. It would also be quite handy if one of our strikers could grab what would be thier first league goal before November is out – there must be a record of some sort if they don’t. Nobody is expecting miracles but please can one of the forwards grab a goal, if only for Sir Andy.
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
Follow him on twitter @rcfoster.