Why Crystal Palace's Match Against Burnley Is Absolutely Crucial

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Why Crystal Palace's Match Against Burnley Is Absolutely Crucial

It would be an understatement to describe the upcoming fixture at Turf Moor as important. Absolutely crucial would be closer to the mark. After the gutsy and merited win over an in-form Spurs, we face an in-form Burnley. Ironically, both have just played each other twice in the FA Cup and the Clarets’ spectacular collapse in the replay at White Hart Lane when they blew a 2-0 lead offers a smidgeon of encouragement. Although it was not a league game there is clearly some vulnerability at the back, which needs to be exploited.

Pardew’s arrival has been like a breath of fresh air and the team has look invigorated, released from the shackles of a previously negative frame of mind which was clearly illustrated by being much more forward-looking after a shaky twenty minutes against Tottenham. There was a sense of momentum, which had been sadly lacking under Warnock. The key was that both full backs pushed up and joined in with the attacks and in particular Kelly who was filling the tricky left back slot, he made several foraging runs that wrested the initiative away from the previously superior Spurs.

As ever it is imperative that we build on this performance so that it represents the start of a good run rather than being an isolated victory. Burnley have certainly recovered after a hesitant beginning to life back in the Premier League and it is refreshing to see a club that sticks by its manager even when times were tough. The increasingly husky Sean Dyche comes across as a thoroughly decent guy who has managed to get his team working hard (they cover more ground than any other team, it was revealed this week) and they are in with a fighting chance of staying up, especially if target man Danny Ings can stay injury-free.

Burnley have proved difficult to beat at home with Liverpool the only visitors to have taken all three points since November and with creditable draws at Newcastle and Man City over the Christmas period they will be a tough nut to crack. But if Palace are to make the necessary strides forwards this is the sort of fixture where we need to get a result and it will be fascinating to see if new man Sanogo, who has arrived on loan from Arsenal, makes his debut and if brings a goal threat alongside the “chaos factor” that Pardew talked about in his press conference. If he does and the weather is as cold as predicted the headlines are already written “Sanogo’s snow goal.”

Richard’s first book The A-Z of Football Hates is available in bookshops and online.

Follow him on twitter @rcfoster and @AZFootballHates