Following swiftly on the heels of the Mansion derby against Bournemouth, Swansea are next up. Having won their first game in eight matches with a gritty 1-0 victory over West Brom, the Jacks climbed out of the relegation zone and stopped the rot.
It seems extraordinary that they find themselves in this lowly position considering their serene progress of the last five years and that Garry Monk was jettisoned in the process. Monk’s departure was a sign that the model club had a few cracks in it and they are still waiting to appoint his successor.
Meanwhile Palace battled to a goalless draw with a much-depleted side, shorn of key players such as Yohan Cabaye, Yannick Bolasie and worryingly, yet again, Connor Wickham. For a relatively young player Wickham is developing a bit of injury prone-itis.
As Alan Pardew pointed out “we’re pretty thin at the moment but that’s part of the game.” All clubs suffer injuries over a season and the most successful ones have the squad depth to cope with such absences. There is no point bemoaning ill luck, you just have to get on with it, is the clear message from the manager.
A patched-up Palace side will be keen to keep the momentum of the last month or so going and maybe it is time to bring a much-injured player back into the starting line-up – the return of a fit and firing Chamakh would be most welcome.
As a player who made a big difference in the first season back in the Premier League in 2013/14 season it would be a boost to see Chammers back in action. One feels that the January transfer window will almost certainly see another striker being added, as the lack of options upfront is a concern.
This second game in three days will test the resolve of the players and the collective spirit that has got them so far will be needed once again. With the relative lack of firepower the onus on the defence to keep things tight has underpinned the recent good run and with Hennessey very much being at the heart of a mean defence. The ability to grind out results when things are not going according to plan is key to being a strong outfit and it would be appropriate to see 2015 out with a hard-earned win.
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.
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