And so another month rolls on by without a league victory and here we are in April with the prospect of facing one of this season’s best Premier League teams.
West Ham are enjoying their last season at Upton Park so much that they have the sniff of Champions League football in their nostrils. Dimitri Payet is challenging Riyad Mahrez for player of the year, a combination of brilliance, high energy and remarkable consistency puts him right at the top of the pile and if Palace cannot contain him there lies danger.
Consistency is something we crave for as the season has slowly unravelled from a position of unexpected strength to a point of near crisis. We haven’t really managed a strong 90 minutes since the turn of the year. Fitful is probably the closest description as the team seem incapable of performing for longer than the odd half hour spell.
This is surely not just down to missing players, but missing belief. Alan Pardew’s star has most certainly waned and there are rumblings of discontent and discord emanating from Selhurst. For a club that built a reputation for togetherness this has become a cause for concern.
With the tentacles of relegation creeping ever closer, the mood has darkened and can be felt in the anxiety of the supporters, this in itself feeds to the players and so a vicious circle is set in motion. Even Pardew has admitted that we have now been sucked into the relegation scrap and the need to turn around the woeful form of the last three months is long overdue. It does not take too much to turn narrow defeats into draws or slender victories but with all the momentum pointing downwards there has to be a turning point pretty soon.
Having achieved two wins at Upton Park in the last two seasons the prospect of a hat-trick would be ever so sweet but remains a little fanciful in the current circumstances. For all the doom and gloom that has built up over the last 13 winless matches, hope springs eternal that something will change and just when nobody expects it. Maybe our very own Frenchman, Yohan Cabaye will emerge from the shadows of his fellow countryman to get us back on track once and for all. And not a moment too soon.
Richard Foster is a freelance football writer and author, who is a regular features contributor for The Guardian – http://bit.ly/1QCOH9x
He also writes for a variety of Palace blogs and fanzines, including The Palace Podcast.
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 – http://amzn.to/1RDJdy5.
Talking Balls! His sports quotes book, was published in September 2015 – http://amzn.to/1RjV7Lw
Follow him on twitter @rcfoster