Following on from the last-gasp loss of two points against Bournemouth last weekend, Crystal Palace now have just five games left in which to ensure that they don’t fall through the Premier League trapdoor when the season draws to a close in May.
Thanks to Arsenal’s late 3-2 win over Southampton yesterday we have managed to gain a point on the bottom three over the course of the weekend which goes some way to alleviating the stress of the fact that the Saints still have a game in hand.
Whilst we will all rightly remain watchful of the scenarios involving the club’s around us, we must also be careful to ensure that he stay focussed on the challenges directly facing us in the coming weeks, starting with the mouthwatering prospect of a home clash with rivals Brighton & Hove Albion this coming weekend.
Win it and we can pull to within a single point of Chris Hughton’s men, lose and the Seagulls will have all but mathematically ensured their place in the top flight at our expense with one game more left to play than ourselves. Put quite simply, the stakes couldn’t be higher for us this weekend, leading me to hope that the players don’t wilt under the inevitable pressure.
Beyond that, we face trips to Watford and Stoke, with further home games against Leicester and on the final day West Bromwich Albion. On paper, it looks to be an extremely kind run of fixtures but with Watford and Leicester playing without pressure (other than the Foxes fading Europa League hopes), Stoke fighting tooth and nail to survive and the Baggies almost certain to be heading into the final day with their relegation already confirmed, the old adage of the Premier League being a dangerously difficult environment in which to pick up points has never looked more accurate.
Of course, I’d much rather be playing the teams we are instead of the top six but this point forward, it’s up to the players to stand up and prove that they deserve to be competing at this level once again next term. After letting so many points go in the latter stages of games there is now a real need for us to get the job done in a ruthless manner.
Two more wins should do it, who they come against doesn’t bother me in the slightest.