According to a recent poll, Crystal Palace are “too good to go down”; a phrase that is likely to strike fear into the hearts of our notoriously pessimistic fan-base with 12 games left of the Premier League season.
Whilst we remain eight points clear of the drop zone, Alan Pardew and his players are now without a win in nine league games, having picked up just three draws in that spell, all of which has led to a sense of palpable trepidation from the stands each week, even if it isn’t reflected in the thoughts of the wider football watching public just yet.
Things may not be at crisis point just yet, but should we fail to gain three points from our next two league games against West Brom and Sunderland respectively, we face a four game run against Liverpool, Manchester United, Leicester City and West Ham United, which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is enough to leave even the most positive of thinkers trembling.
It is worth pointing out at this juncture, that the mythical 40 point total that so many across the division have become so fixated with since the Premier League first began will probably not be required in this season’s battle to avoid the drop, given the poor showing to date from those at the foot of the table, but even so, it’s always nice to leap over that particular hurdle at the earliest possible juncture.
I dare say many will take a level of comfort from the assurances the attached poll offers, but there will also be plenty who are quick to warn against any further sense of complacency following a prolonged slide. We face a simple task between now and May, gain eight more points and allow ourselves the breathing room to improve the squad’s core to prevent a repeat of a similar scenario occurring in 12 months time.
The stress is real.