Going into December, Palace always knew that it would be a big month for them, but a hard one too.
The Eagles have played two games so far, winning one and losing another, but there are many more points up for grabs and some important games to come.
There are a further five games in the final month of the year, and it is quite possible that they could be left with just one win from those games. With just twelve points on the board, and sitting just ahead of the relegation zone, if things don’t go well, we could see Palace begin the New Year inside the bottom three.
The second biggest game of the month is next which is a trip to West Ham United at the London Stadium on Saturday. The Hammers have won their last two games and are improving, and, if anything, Palace should be looking at what they have done and doing all they can to replicate it. With West Ham having beaten Cardiff City and Newcastle United in the past few days, Palace do not want their count of relegation candidates they have beaten to rise to three.
After that game, things get tougher still, with games at home to Leicester City and then and away to Manchester City before Christmas. City won 2-1 against Watford to maintain their hold on top spot in the Premier League, and they are putting together a strong charge for back-to-back titles this season.
Perhaps the biggest game of the month comes on Boxing Day, when Palace host Cardiff, a team who are struggling and look likely to be involved in the relegation fight. The Premier League relegation odds have Cardiff among the favourites to drop back into the Championship next season, and with them winning just three games so far this season, that’s hard to argue against.
The big danger for Palace here is getting up for this game. No one can afford a day off despite this being right in the heart of the festive period. The players need to remain disciplined and enjoy their Christmas while remembering the importance of the game that awaits them on Boxing Day.
The Eagles round off 2018 with another tough game when they host Chelsea on December 30th. The Blues have been unpredicatble lately, but it will still be an incredibly tough game for Palace to get something out of.
December will be vitally important to all those at the bottom of the Premier League, and for Palace, this is not an easy month. They have a must-win game against Cardiff, but that is sandwiched right between two games against top teams, and on Boxing Day, which is always a tough day to play. The team must make sure they are well prepared to stand every chance of picking up as many points as possible ahead of the January transfer window.