Welcome back to another edition of our Fan Chat feature, which comes off the back of two wins and two clean sheets in a row, which for Palace, is something of a miracle.
Both performances were professional, deserved and overall, looked very promising. The problem is, could it all be a bit late to save ourselves because looking at the upcoming fixtures, we have yet to travel to Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool. Add to that home clashes with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in the final eleven games. This means that we need points from some of those fixtures, and I am not convinced that is going to happen.
Not wishing to put a dampener on things because it’s great to see that in the last few weeks a bit of the Palace spirit has returned. There is a more positive aura surrounding the club at the moment and it almost feels like we’re back to the good times. However, we cannot forget that the situation does remain precarious.
Results this weekend didn’t go our way with other teams like Hull City picking up crucial wins to take us only one point from the drop zone. We have a top squad, but our performances in the first half of the season have all but confirmed a relegation dogfight from now until the final game of the season, and it will be interesting to see how the league pans out this year.
Sunderland have a good chance of recovering, their fixtures are relatively easy, but important as they are mainly against relegation candidates. The same with Swansea City who look a different team under Paul Clement, an excellent managerial performance since he joined. Our main rivals are Leicester City, Middlesborough and Hull, possibly Bournemouth, although they seem to put in a performance out of nowhere just when it is necessary.
It is so difficult to predict what is going to happen as bottom teams are picking up crucial results now in the fight to avoid relegation, and there’s me sitting here genuinely wondering if we are going to do it.
Putting the league to one side for a second, it is wonderful to see the magic of the FA Cup in full force once again, with non-league Lincoln City taking on Premier League superpower Arsenal at the weekend. Whilst the game was like a training match for Arsenal in the second half, the first genuinely looked even and it was great to see another minnow really bring it to a team full of world class players. Arsenal have been hurting recently, that 10-2 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League fresh in the minds of their players and fans alike, and with Lincoln nearly scoring twice in the first half, they must have been concerned the whole time the tie remained score-less.
The debate around Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger really is hotting up at this stage of the season, the same time it usually flares up each passing year. It seems totally shocking that a manager of his quality and consistency is being treated so poorly by the fans. He has finished in a top four spot consistently for years on end. How Arsenal fans are not grateful for that is ludicrous. I’d give anything to have that security at Palace. That said, it is funny watching Arsenal put in a dreadful performance, knowing you can watch Troopz shout ‘FAM’ and ‘BLUD’ in pure rage later in the evening on YouTube. If you haven’t seen ArsenalFanTV, I encourage you to give it a watch, it’s incredibly satisfying.
Another bit of footballing magic also happened this week as Barcelona overturned a 4-0 first leg defeat to Paris Saint Germain to win what was a simply staggering Champions League tie. It was the biggest comeback in the recent history of the competition and simply incredible since PSG scored an away goal in the return leg, to seemingly put the game out of reach. That’s the magic of football though, and with a team like Barcelona, anything is possible. If only Palace could play like that!
On a serious note though, Palace do need to pull some more performances out the bag, otherwise we’re in big trouble. With Brighton looking almost certain to reach the Premier League through the automatic promotion places, we could be in for a year of utter pain and deprivation if we go down and they go up. We can’t be in a league below Brighton, we just mustn’t!
Let’s do this Palace. Bring. It. On.