Monday Night Football’s pre-match analysis of the previous weekend’s games has become something of a must-watch hour of TV for football geeks in recent years and last night, regular co-host Jamie Carragher dedicated a segment of the show to Alan Pardew and Crystal Palace.
Interspersed with a bevvy of statistics that would prompt even the most optimistic of Palace fans to wince, Carragher shines a light on the issues that vast swathes of our fan-base have had for the vast majority of the last 12 months. Whilst Pardew has often spoken of a “transition” from a counter-attacking team to one that uses possession to dictate the pace of play, our defensive frailties are constantly forcing us to climb a figurative mountain in the search for three points.
Indeed, Pardew made the immediate decision to speak about a need to “remove the shackles” from our team when he arrived at the end of 2015, keen to shift our focus towards scoring freely rather than keeping things tight at the back but this term, the relative lack of focus on defensive solidarity is costing us dear time and time again. Obviously, there is no magic formula for success in the Premier League but as Tony Pulis proved when occupying the Selhurst Park dugout, clean sheets are a solid foundation for top flight survival when the heat is truly on.
In many ways, Pardew’s desire to pilot Crystal Palace towards a more expansive style of play is admirable but in a league with such humongous financial penalties attached to failure, he may well be destined to fall on his sword. He still has his fair share of backers on the Selhurst terraces but with a loss to Swansea on Saturday almost sure to see us dropping into the relegation zone, the patience of many is wearing dangerously thin.
What are your thoughts on Carragher’s comments?