5 Things Crystal Palace Need To Do To Beat Sunderland

People talk about 'six pointers' but this one feels more like a 'nine pointer'...
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People talk about 'six pointers' but this one feels more like a 'nine pointer'...

5 Things Crystal Palace Need To Do To Beat Sunderland

1. MASSIVE

Not wanting to put too fine a point on it but the forthcoming game against Sunderland is absolutely enormous and could well define our entire season. No pressure then. Consecutive losses at home have heaped even more significance on the visit to The Stadium of Light to take on fellow strugglers Sunderland. People talk of ‘six pointers’ well this one feels more like a ‘nine pointer’. Win and we can almost smell the sweet scent of survival, lose and the trapdoor will be gaping and an icy wind will beckon the unfortunates downwards.

2. INCE

As I pointed out in my previous preview, Thomas Ince has had a patchy start to his Palace career and ended up as a sub in the last match against Southampton and not a particularly effective one at that. He has to rediscover the verve and energy he showed on his debut but has since gone strangely missing. A mark of a good player is how they react to big matches, the best relish the challenge whereas the also-rans hide away. Well Thomas has to take this opportunity by the scruff of the neck and shake his stuff if he is to prove himself.

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3. ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL

More than at any other time the team need to show a real sense of togetherness and some fight. Sunderland will certainly be up for it and as they have departed from both Cups in last few weeks, their focus is now solely on the league. With Cattermole and Bridcutt in midfield they have plenty of tenacity and that needs to be matched with strength of purpose and fierce determination.

4. OVERCOME LACK OF CHAMAKH

We looked a poorer side without Chammers last Saturday and rather toothless upfront. His muscular presence was sadly lacking and the fact that he is out for a few weeks is a big miss. Murray is not the same sort of player and Jerome does not pose much of a threat, so we will need to adjust our game plan as pumping long balls upfront will not work.

5. WINGING IT

What Murray thrives on is good service from the flanks. He was the top scorer in the Championship last season based on the dazzling wing play of Zaha and Bolasie. Bolasie has shown flashes of skill but needs to be more consistent whilst Puncheon is a confidence player, unfortunately his rick against Southampton may be gnawing away at him so he needs to put that behind him and bounce back.

Follow Richard on Twitter, @RCFoster