If you happen to be a Crystal Palace fan, the last week or so has been rather enjoyable. Fresh from pummelling Arsenal 3-0 at Selhurst Park, the Eagles came back from two goals down to salvage a point against reigning champions Leicester City a few days later.
Having started life under Sam Allardyce in eyebrow raisingly poor fashion, the turnaround in the team’s fortunes has been remarkable of late. Indeed, after picking up just four points from our first eight league games under the manager’s watchful eye, we have now secured a massive 16 from his last seven games in charge, thanks in no small part to the two mightily impressive recent displays at Selhurst Park.
Against Arsenal, the players put in one of the most complete performances I’ve ever seen from a Palace side, pressing from the front as soon as the first whistle sounded and refusing to take their foot off the gas for the rest of the night. Helped by Andros Townsend’s early opening strike, we asserted our dominance on Arsene Wenger’s team throughout and got our rewards with another two goals midway through the second period. As I mentioned in the link above, Yohan Cabaye’s goal alone was worthy of winning any game, with the Frenchman seemingly rejuvenated in an attacking sense since being paired with Serbian international Luka Milivojevic in the middle of the park.
Whilst Monday night’s game was defined by tactical nuances, Palace’s battling point against Leicester was all about grit from a newly battle-hardened group of players. It would have been easy to fold under the pressure of conceding two soft goals to the Foxes but Big Sam has worked incredibly hard on the mental side of the game with the players since taking charge and it showed late on against Craig Shakeapeare’s men in the April sunshine.
Thanks to a close-range strike from that man Cabaye and a towering header to level the scores from Christian Benteke shortly after, Palace were able to toast adding another point to the board in the battle against the drop.
With a trip to Liverpool on the horizon, it’s safe to say that the club has got its mojo back.