What Have We Missed During Our Absence?
As site editor, I asked my colleague Michael Stokoe to allow me to write the latest edition of this feature following our enforced online absence. It just seemed right to get things going again and my thanks to Michael for allowing me to hijack his feature.
Contrary to popular belief, the absence of the site had nothing to do with the loss to Villa. It was a tough match to review and it appeared to be the straw that broke the camels back. We have since found that it was not the pain of that defeat, but the interest in TEB by a hacker located in Russia. What we have done to become a target I have no idea but every cup of tea that is made at TEB HQ is now tested thoroughly before being consumed!
So, what have we missed while the site has been offline for eight days?
Not much in fact.
As we know only too well, we are in the midst of the January transfer window which is my least favourite time of the season. Palace have yet to sign anyone of note (no offence to youth player Randell Williams who has signed from non-league side Tower Hamlets until the end of the season), the lack of which has been much discussed across social media.
We have still not scored a goal so it cannot be our fault. A trip to the Etihad proved to be a thankless task instead of a reaction to Villa defeat. I am just thankful that I did not have to write our Match Review on that one with the perfect excuse that there was no site to put it on!
Carlisle United have cleaned up their Brunton Park ground following the floods and are heading back to play there this weekend while Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Cardiff City have all been handed transfer embargos.
Other than that, it has been a relatively quiet week unless you were at TEB HQ where there were plenty of sleepless nights trying to get things sorted out to get the site back online. I really hope you like the new look as much as we do, feedback always appreciated.
Back to the reason we are all here. Football. And in particular, Palace.
From being unbeaten in December to see out 2015, Palace have started the new year bang out of form. The only bright spark has been the FA Cup Third Round win at Southampton. In the league it has been a run of three defeats to Chelsea, Aston Villa and Manchester City, conceding eight goals and scoring none in the process.
It has in fact been five league games without a goal. The last being that stunning winner by our South Korean dynamo Lee Chung-yong at Stoke City. That was our last league win which incidentally saw both Connor Wickham and Yannick Bolasie receive injuries.
While Wickham has returned to the first team, the absence of Bolasie is having a real effect on the team. Not only that but it has coincided with a few players experiencing a dip in form.
I am not going to add to the much debated topic of needing a striker, boss Alan Pardew has admitted that the club are actively seeking to recruit and that is good enough for me.
We head into an interesting run of fixtures starting with in form Tottenham before taking on Stoke City in the FA Cup Fourth Round and then Bournemouth, all at Selhurst Park. The Eagles then travel to Swansea City before returning to South London to play Watford in what will be the fourth home game in five.
Form is only temporary they say but it has become a bad habit of late. After a flurry of games, Palace have had a breather this week to collect their thoughts and try new things on the training ground. Hopefully a combination of players returning to full fitness and others finding their form will be the ingredients to a long awaited performance against a very good Spurs side.
Tottenham will be in for a tough match against Palace on Saturday. A win for Spurs would be a big boost to our Champions League aspirations, especially against Palace who were the only London club that we failed to beat last season.
Palace have the worst goal difference over the last five matches but have the individual talent to undo any side. South Koreon Heung-Min Son is coming off his best performance of the season against Leicester City and will hope to duplicate the winner he scored the last time these two clubs met.
The side from North London have been in fine form this season. They currently sit fourth in the table on 39 points, just five behind Premier League leaders and fierce rivals Arsenal. Bizarrely enough, they have just faced Leicester City three times in ten days, losing the league encounter but getting revenge in the FA Cup replay to set up a fourth round tie at Colchester United. That defeat to Leicester was only their second loss in the league in ten games.
It will be a tall order this weekend but we all know that if Palace can return to the form that we are craving, we can be a match for any side in this division.
Personally, I am just relieved that the great team we have here at TEB HQ can continue their terrific work now that the site has returned. Here’s hoping for a good game this weekend, and perhaps a goal from a player wearing read and blue would be nice too.