Crystal Palace: 5 Things We Need To Do To Silence The Arsenal
1. 1-0 TO THE ARSENAL
This was one of those fixtures that we would generally file under the “Write off and move on” category. The prospect of taking on the might of Arsenal who have been at the top of the table for the last few months until being deposed by Man City’s midweek demolition of Spurs. But Palace’s recent form is on a par with our more illustrious neighbours and between them Arsenal and Palace have kept the most clean sheets of all Premier League clubs over the last three months. So that familiar chant of 1-0 to The Arsenal maybe needs a rewrite.
2. A LEAGUE OF TWO HALVES
The gulf between the top and bottom of the Premier League is nowhere more underlined than by Palace’s record. Against the current Top 10, 12 matches have yielded only one point, a draw with Everton; 11 games against the lower half of the division have seen 22 points from 7 wins and one draw. On the principle of needing to beat the teams around you to survive this is compelling evidence to suggest we are getting it right. However, we have performed creditably against many of the top clubs, losing by the odd goal at both Chelsea and Man City, so it would be great to snaffle the odd point.
3. STICK TO OUR GUNS
Having found some success under Pulis there must be an element in preparing the team for Sunday in the same manner as the previous games. This does not mean just ‘parking the bus’ or what Mourinho describes as Victorian (sic) tactics, but being solid at the back whilst also posing some sort of threat upfront. It is not possible to set out solely to defend as over 90 minutes the pressure builds and one slip can be costly. Naturally much of the attention will focus on Chammers as he returns to his previous club and he will certainly be motivated to show his worth, so expect a strong showing from the 30 year-old, or maybe even that rarest of Moroccan delicacies, a goal.
4. PUNCH ABOVE OUR WEIGHT
As we have crept up the table to the giddy heights of 14th there has been one player who has epitomised the change in attitude that Pulis has introduced. Meet Jason Puncheon, the very same man who, to put it politely, skied his penalty at White Hart lane and was vilified for his misdemeanour. Lesser players would have crumbled but Punch, fully supported by his manager and the fans, has bounced back from adversity and notched two winning goals since his spot of bother. Add in his successful penalty against Norwich and Puncheon has scored all Palace’s league goals so far in 2014. We are becoming increasingly reliant on him and he needs to step up to the plate again against Arsenal. Having been signed permanently on Transfer Deadline Day he will now prove himself to be a real asset and not the liability all those detractors who belittled him.
5. WINDOW CLOSED
As the transfer window has now closed we know where we stand in terms of squad strength. Adding Hennessey, Dann and with Ince and Ledley close at time of writing we have certainly added quality for the future battle. But back to the Arsenal game, which we will tackle with our existing squad, some will claim there will never be a better time to take on the Gunners with Flamini, Ramsey and Wilshere all out. This only leaves Ozil, Arteta and Rosciky, as their midfield so should be a walk in the park. The truth is that anything but an Arsenal victory would be a major surprise but as my dad use to say ‘stranger things have happened at sea.’ I am not sure what that means either but here’s hoping.