Alan Pardew faces two of his former clubs in the next few days starting with West Ham on Saturday, followed by a tricky trip down to Southampton on Tuesday evening.
These games will not only mean a great deal to our manager because of his past but also could prove crucial to his future. If Palace can continue their recent excellent away form and pick up points from both games then the comfort of a reasonable cushion over the bottom three will be maintained, even extended. However, if no points are garnered the hot breath of the relegation zone will be felt on his neck.
Pardew has insisted that against Arsenal there was a distinct plan and it almost came off with a dogged performance that maybe on another day would have turned into a draw, or even a victory. It was not until added time that Palace actually threatened Ospina’s goal and one can argue about the validity of both Arsenal goals but there is no point in harping on about rough justice, the focus has to be on getting the plans right for these next two matches.
There has been much speculation over whether Jedinak would return last weekend but he was left on the bench and some reports suggest that he was frustrated to be on the sidelines.
As a player who has been instrumental to the success of the last few seasons, it would appear odd if he were now put out to pasture. He is not the most subtle of players and we do miss his strength when he is absent but Pardew’s insistence on trying to play more football through the midfield may count against the captain. But when trying to avoid being sucked into a battle to avoid the drop it may be worth abandoning aesthetics and going with force instead.
Ironically, Jedinak is just the sort of player that Sam Allardyce admires. West Ham have surprised a few people this season with a slightly more adventurous style than normally associated with an Allardyce team and have enjoyed rubbing shoulders with Champions League contenders as opposed to last season’s relegation scrap.
A supporter pointed out to me recently that the secret is in the continuing absence of Andy Carroll as without him they play more creative football. Maybe the same applies to Palace and Jedinak but I for one would feel happier if he were restored to the team along with McArthur to bolster the midfield.