Four losses in a row as we head to the international break.
A typical Palace roller coaster of a season as we gather pace and head further downwards.
Poor home form, an absence of clean sheets, no Plan B, Frazier Campbell, Alan Pardew seemingly oblivious to it all.
We don our helmets and head to the panic station.
But hold on a minute …
What’s the problem folks? This is just the resumption of normal service.
Welcome to the Pleasuredome.
Let’s get back to my weak and tired roller-coaster analogy. As you know there is that part of the journey when you have slowed down and can’t get any lower.
That is normally the moment when Keith Millen is caretaker manager and we fight out a nil-nil draw somewhere up north. It is the start of our slow recovery.
But this season I really don’t think we need to panic.
Of course we will. That is all part of the fun.
Here’s the thing.
Despite the last set of results I am confident that Hull City, Sunderland and Swansea City will remain three of the poorest teams the Premier League has seen in recent years, and even if one of them – Sunderland with a new manager naturally – recovers, we should be able to use Middlesbrough as a buffer.
I am so confident of survival that I think we may even get up to sixteenth.
I believe I have sound reasoning behind my theory of who will end the season below us.
While Hull are just a point below us, they probably can’t quite believe that. They lost the manager who got them promoted. The owners lost the fans a while ago with all that Tigers nonsense and they barely got a squad of twenty-five by the time the transfer window closed.
Sunderland have to be admired for their determination to maintain their appalling record of failure to win any games in British Summer Time, … and for making Zeke Fryers look like a Premier League player. And of course they will appoint a maverick come lunatic to replace David Moyes at some point. Possibly the same one as last year – he is available for the price of a few pints of wine. But this season they have lost the crucial six points donated to them by Newcastle United and that could be fatal to their chances.
Even if Sunderland repeat their Houdini act, I think it could be Middlesbrough rather than Palace who get dragged down. They are solid and well-organised at the back and have a smart manager, but Alvaro Negredo and Gaston Ramirez have never maintained form over a whole English season and I don’t think they will score enough goals.
As for Swansea, things look bad after that lame performance against a random assortment of individuals under contract at Manchester United. This is a side that have been renowned in the past few seasons for the excellent links between the team, the boardroom and the fans. They now have seen major investment from the United States and the appointment of a manager well looked upon by the owners, less so by the fans.
Nothing wrong with that at all.
Anyway, back to the Palace.
We are eleven games in with eleven points on the board. A point a game gives us thirty-eight points which should be absolutely fine for survival.
So only twenty-seven points needed in twenty-seven games. Let’s say seven wins, six draws and fourteen losses. That is achievable.
We can go batshit crazy during those fourteen defeats and it will all be a waste of nervous energy.
Relax – it should be fine.
The seven wins? Swansea home and away, Hull home and away, a cheeky away win at Bournemouth, home to Middlesbrough, home to Watford.
As for the six draws, how about the midweek home game against Moan United, a draw at the soulless Olympic vacuum like everyone else, another up at Stoke, a point at the Hawthorns as Clattenburg awards us a dodgy injury-time penalty …, and then disappointing home draws against Leicester City and Burnley in April to make sure that the nerves stay unnecessarily shredded at the end of the season.
This isn’t just guesswork. It is almost scientifically based as I have built in the inevitable home defeat to Sunderland into my model.
I have no ambitions about getting anything from the top sides either, and I know the run-in is horrible.
I’m just trying to alleviate the stress, and save you the cost of a rollercoaster ride you’ve been on before.
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