Palace 0-1 Leicester
Do I really have to write that Crystal Palace’s winless run in the league has now reached 13 games? Sigh.
Crystal Palace moved to within two games of levelling an unwanted record for consecutive league games without a win. If Newcastle fans comments are anything to go by, this is the sort of record that Alan Pardew has a knack of breaking – so buckle up.
Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez combined to score the only goal of the game 34 minutes into the first half. Danny Drinkwater picked up a Damien Delaney clearing header and fed Vardy inside the left hand side of the penalty area, his cutback picked out the Algerian international who stroked home his sixteenth league goal of the season.
Mahrez had already missed an early opportunity to open the scoring when he raced away, however, Wayne Hennessey was equal to his effort, saving the ball with his legs. At the other end, wither side of the goal, Wilfried Zaha fired wide after great work from Yannick Bolasie and Kasper Schmeichel got down well to save a deflected effort from Bolasie.
Pardew made changes at half time, replacing the pathetic Pape Souare and wasted Emmanuel Adebayor with Martin Kelly and Bakary Sako. The former dealt with the threat of Mahrez infinitely better than the man he replaced and Sako added exceptional delivery and a long range threat, but all to no effect.
With second left on the clock, Scott Dann nodded a corner back across goal and Delaney controlled the ball on his chest and volleyed towards goal – the crossbar rattled and the Foxes opened up an eight point gap at the top of the Premier League.
If yesterday’s performance had come during a better run, I doubt that we would all be so, seemingly, suicidal. More possession, more shots, more shots on target and more corners. Anyone would take that when playing against the team that is top of the league. We have effectively lost because of their superior quality in front of goal. No shame in that. Tag the performance on to the end of a run of twelve games without a win and it seems like the end of the world.
The second half against West Brom, large periods against Sunderland, the first hour against Liverpool and of course beating Spurs and Reading in the FA Cup. Surely a win is coming? Please?
How Long Does Pardew Have?
Nobody is untouchable and for the first time on the side, Steve Parish was actually looking extremely peeved off with the situation. You have to ask the question, would he still be in charge if we hadn’t performed so well in the FA Cup? I think the answer to that question is probably, who would you put in charge if Pardew was removed? Unless we feel that we can tempt someone away from a Club, there is nobody out there at this moment in time.
I will say fair play to our fans. Despite the run we are still backing him by singing his name and trying to give him as much support as possible. Booing him or calling for his head would be extremely counterproductive – and considering it is clear that an ever growing proportion of fans do want him out, I tip my hat to you for keeping it under wraps as well as you have.
Where do I stand? I want to see more from our Gaffer. I want to see that he has the ability to move outside of his comfort zone. At the moment I am not seeing this. I see a man that believes that runs like this are normal, when in reality there is no one else in the Premier League that has ever suffered as many of these extended runs without a win.
He needs to try different things to try and break a streak (and by that I do not mean playing Bolasie as a centre forward) instead of remaining stubborn in his approach. Let go of the arrogance and the ego. Grind out some results when that is what is called for, ie now. Concede possession, sit deep, hit on the counter. Once we have some wins under our belt, move back to the expansive football that you want to play. If you don’t, you’ll pay with your job and our Premier League status.
So to answer the question 'how long does he have?' I think that it will be impossible to sack him until we have played Watford in the FA Cup. If we have lost to Norwich before then, we might just be already doomed and should be lose to Watford in the Cup then surely that spells the end.
Is Relegation a Possibility? Update.
After the Liverpool game I concluded that we will need five more points for survival. I had Leicester down as 0 points, so it remains as you were. Our season hinges on that Norwich game in a few weeks.
Leicester City Home – 0 points
West Ham Away – 0 points
Norwich Home – 3 points (it cannot be anything else)
Arsenal Away – 0 points
Manchester United Away – 0 points
Everton Home – 1 point (when scheduled)
Newcastle Away – 1 point
Stoke Home – 0 points (there is no way we beat them 3 times this year)
Southampton Away – 0 points
Man of the Match: Mile Jedinak
Back to his imperious best in the middle of the park winning almost everything in the air, tackling well and intercepting regularly. More importantly, he completed a lot more passes than we would usually expect from him – the part of his game that really needs to improve if he is to consider holding down a place in the starting eleven.
Up Next: West Ham
Upton Park has been a happy hunting ground for us since our return to the Premier League with two wins from two. Both of those games saw us go into the match as the form team and that will obviously not be the case this time. I struggle to see us winning on our last ever trip to the Boleyn.
Personally, I am praying that Connor Wickham will be back from injury.
Come on you Palace!