Preston 4-1 Palace
As I put the key into my front door at 3.30am, completing 1600 miles of travel to away games in the month of August with only a win at lowly Exeter to show for it I found myself wondering why I bother. Of course, I rebuffed this moment of sanity with an insane justification that I cannot quite remember now.
There have been many low moments as a Palace fan, along with many highs, and fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your outlook, this 4-1 reverse probably doesn’t even make my top ten low moments. This being said, I have no idea what I’ve been moaning about all day!
Was it THAT bad?
I have been asked several times today if, upon reflection, it was really THAT bad. The answer is most certainly yes, however, there is a ‘but’.
Defensively we are horrible. There is no mistaking that this defence is on a par with the shower that Craig Burley fielded during his reign. For those who have archived this period in the bin section of your mind, let me remind you. By the time he was sacked we had quite literally the worst defence in the football league.
We conceded four goals a total of zero times last season, having achieved this feat twice already this season something has clearly gone wrong in the off season. The Anthony Gardner size whole in the back four is well documented and without McCarthy in the mix, who is a fantastic leader who inspires his defensive partners, we will have to wait to see if Martin can actually get anywhere close to filling the boots of the critic’s choice for Player of the Year from last season.
The ‘but’ comes at the other end of the field, where we aren’t in bad shape at all!
Williams, Zaha, Bolasie and Moritz are all blessed with great amounts of skill and creativity and will combine to unlock defences all over the place this season. If we only manage to average a goal a game this season, like we did last season, I will eat Julian Speroni’s beard.
Sure there are doubts cast over Wilbraham, Appiah, Easter and Murray, however, all they have to do this season is stand in the six yard box and chances will come. Last night Wilbraham got on the end of two incredible crosses. One from Williams, which he converted, and one from Zaha, which he made a compete hash of. If he continues with a 50% conversion rate, by my calculations he will the season with around 40 goals.
In all seriousness, the combined pace, vision and skill of Williams, Zaha, Bolasie and Moritz respectively, is doing so much for us going forward and we will see our average strike force score at an above average rate.
If Freedman can find the balls to play a midfield five of Jedinak, Williams, Zaha, Bolasie and Moritz, our goal scoring problems, regardless of who is up top, will be a thing of the past.
So there is a simple solution to our problems, a centre back before the transfer window slams shut and we should see things start to turn around.
Can we turn it around in time for Saturday? History is on our side, so maybe. We haven’t lost four games in a row in the league since September 2004, which means that Dougie Freedman has never lost four games in a row in his managerial career. Let’s hope he doesn’t start now.
Keep the faith, good things will come with this team. Fingers crossed, the good times will come with Freedman at the helm.