Analysing Palace’s Chances Of Escaping Relegation By May

0 Posted by - March 7, 2018 - Daily Thoughts, News

Injuries Hindering Palace’s Chances Of Premier League Survival

Every Premier League club has had to deal with its fair share of injury woes this season but it would be fair to claim that Crystal Palace have suffered more than most. Roy Hodgson’s side have slipped back into the relegation dogfight after securing just two points in their previous five Premier League games. Now back in the bottom three, Palace need to turn things around quickly in order to give themselves the best chance of avoiding relegation. With just six points separating Palace and 12th-placed Bournemouth, the battle is far from over.

Palace have seen a significant improvement since Roy Hodgson arrived at Selhurst Park so it would be harsh to blame the manager too much for their recent struggles. The Eagles had 12 first team players ruled out through injury for the recent visit of Tottenham Hotspur and some would argue that Palace could have nicked a draw with a full-strength squad. Luckily for Hodgson, Martin Kelly and Jeffrey Schlupp are both back and will play pivotal roles for Palace during the run-in. Hodgson himself admitted that he was banking on those two defenders returning ahead of the clashes with Manchester United and Chelsea.

Palace Much Improved Under Hodgson

Supporters cannot have any complaints about Palace’s form at Selhurst Park under Hodgson – the Eagles have lost just three home fixtures since the start of October. Holding Manchester City, 18 points clear at the top of the Premier League table, to a goalless draw was a great achievement but the Eagles could – and probably should – have won that fixture. Taking inspiration from that performance could help get Palace back on track. As of March 5th, Betway are going 9/4 for Hodgson’s men to drop into the second tier this campaign and Eagles fans know that picking up as many points as possible in their remaining home fixtures is crucial.

Wilfried Zaha is central to Palace’s chances of survival and Eagles fans will be hoping for a speedy recovery. At the time of writing, Zaha has missed eight Premier League matches so far this season – Hodgson’s side have lost all eight, scoring just once whilst conceding 18. He is edging closer to a return and Palace will be in a much stronger position to push on and avoid relegation with Zaha back on the wing. The Eagles aren’t a one-man team but Zaha’s impact and ability to create chances in the final third should give them an edge. Whether Palace stay up or not, one thing is for sure: England’s elite clubs will be hunting his signature this summer with plenty of papers stating that Spurs are already plotting a lucrative bid for the 25-year-old.

‘Defence Wins Championships’

But we cannot overlook the issue of defensive instability in Palace’s recent run. The key to success in sport is consistency, both in attack and defence. Hodgson has been forced to play a few of Palace’s fringe defenders in recent months – that’s how bad their current injury situation is. The former England boss handed a professional debut to 20-year-old Aaron Wan-Bissaka against Spurs and he is now all set to feature on a more regular basis. James Tomkins, recently named as one of the Premier League’s top 20 defenders, limped off against Tottenham but is now back to full fitness following Monday night’s defeat to Jose Mourinho’s Reds.

It may be a little far-fetched to label Hodgson a relegation escape artist but the Palace boss does have previous from his Fulham and West Bromwich Albion days. The former in particular will live long in the memory with modern football fans – Danny Murphy inspiring the Cottagers to a shock victory away at Manchester City. That experience and knowledge of how to prepare a team battling against the odds could prove useful come the end of the campaign, especially if Palace’s injury woes continue to hamper their bid to move clear of danger.

Can Palace Do It?

Momentum is not in Palace’s favour but the Eagles do still have time on their hands. Roy Hodgson isn’t a miracle worker but, with the right tools, Crystal Palace can climb out of their current predicament – they certainly have the talent to succeed in England’s top flight with a fully fit squad. A couple of key figures at the back and Wilfried Zaha should be enough to give Palace a much-needed boost and clashes with Huddersfield Town, Brighton & Hove Albion and Stoke City are of paramount importance. Hold onto your hats; it is going to be a nail-biting finish to the campaign.

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7 Comments

  • Sharpy March 7, 2018 - 10:24 am Reply

    Admin you are obviously a big Hodgson supporter so can I ask one question to you and any of the other readers, we haven’t won a single point since sept 2016 without Wilf in the team so what has he done better than any including ( and I’m going to get shot for this ) De Boer ? Of course the players looked happy they started to score points and not loose games, again once Wilf was playing. Don’t think I’m against Hodgson far from it but without Wilf we’re going down !

  • Mark March 7, 2018 - 10:48 am Reply

    3 pts separate 13th & 19th, so it’s not even desperation time yet! After Chelsea we have 6 very winnable games. It’s time we started talking up how good we actually are, not talking ourselves into a relegation dog fight…

    • Sharpy March 7, 2018 - 11:27 am Reply

      Agreed Mark, just wondered how others see things, the fact remains no Wilf no points ?

  • Graham March 7, 2018 - 4:21 pm Reply

    Not wanting to pick holes, but hasn’t Wilf missed a few more than 8 games? And we scored 2 goals in the latest one he missed too

    • admin March 7, 2018 - 5:41 pm Reply

      Indeed he has Graham, a large chunk of what was written had been prepped before the United game, not that it’s an excuse. I’ll get that changed ASAP. My apologies.

  • Yourspellingisshite March 7, 2018 - 4:39 pm Reply

    It’s easy ; we need wilf wide right Townsend left then we win more games follow sams plan or get relegated

  • t.carter March 8, 2018 - 8:24 am Reply

    your all standing there with your fingers crossed.this is not a good teamm.too many players are not premiership material.why oh why do we have to rely on wilf all the time.yes our defence has been unsettled,but have they really been good?a midfield that fails to dominate any game,except when we played leicester.a forwardlife totally misfiring.come on get real,we have not played as a complete team for ages.this is relegation form.im afraid we,l need more than wishfull thinking.

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