New Hope For The Eagles After Chelsea Success
Palace made a mockery of their status as relegation favourites by beating reigning Premier League champions in a pulsating encounter last weekend.
The Eagles had gone seven games without a point or even a single goal and were tipped to be annihilated by Chelsea at Selhurst Park.
Instead, Palace took the game to their much fancied opposition and emerged with all three precious points. Fans will now be hoping that the surprise result reignites their season and that new manager Roy Hodgson can keep the good times flowing through the long winter months.
Before the game, the Eagles were as low as 8/13 to be relegated and favourites by a country mile. Now if you head over to Ladbrokes, a bookmaker with great reviews, Palace have gone out to even money.
That is a massive turnaround and highlights what a fantastic job the team did to beat Chelsea. But there is still a lot of work to do as Palace are now second favourites for the drop. Huddersfield Town are 4/6 after their loss at the hands of Swansea City and they are expected to tumble down the table after a bright start to the campaign. Then it is the Eagles, followed by Brighton & Hove Albion at 26/19, Swansea at 13/8, Bournemouth at 7/4, Burnley at 7/2 and then come West Ham United at 5/1.
Upcoming games against Newcastle United and West Ham are crucial. Former England boss Hodgson was handed a nightmare start to life at Selhurst Park after taking over from Frank De Boer.
The Eagles had lost all four games during the Dutchman’s brief reign and the fixture list facing Hodgson was Southampton, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea. There was not enough time for him to prepare for the Southampton game and Palace duly continued the poor form and lost. No-one could have forecast anything other than zero points from the next three.
Palace were predictably walloped by the Manchester clubs, but the performance against Chelsea was nothing short of sensational but it was not new territory after winning at Chelsea last season ahead of securing a great escape under Sam Allardyce. There have been plenty of great escapes in recent seasons, but could this victory over the Blues herald the start of another resurgence?
It certainly provides the opportunity for a fresh start, although Hodgson rejects that notion;
“The league is thirty-eight matches and each one is its own particular story,” he philosophised after the win over Chelsea.
“Sometimes it is a good one like it is today and we would like to read that chapter again, but unfortunately next Saturday there is another story. We would be foolish to start thinking that because we deservedly won today, it means we will win against Newcastle or West Ham.”
He is definitely correct to take the threat of Newcastle and West Ham seriously. Those games are huge six pointers as both teams could get dragged into the relegation dogfight, and the Eagles will go into the match up full of confidence on the back of a terrific victory.
What a difference the returning Wilfried Zaha made. He was a constant menace, terrorising Chelsea defenders throughout with his pace, dribbling and movement. He may have been a little profligate in front of goal, but he banged in the winner and set the tone for a high-energy performance, inspiring those around him. He illustrated his enormous importance to the team, and it begs the question where Palace would be in the table now had he not suffered that injury on opening day. De Boer may even still be in a job now had he been able to call on the mercurial talent.
The Eagles can only look to the future and next up it is Newcastle away, a game Palace are underdogs for. That is followed by a home clash against a beleaguered West Ham, and these are absolutely games Palace need to be winning if they are to beat the drop once more.
“This is definitely the start of a fight back,” said Zaha.
“Now we have more confidence, we can start to climb up the table.”
Palace’s rivals should beware such fighting talk.