Crystal Palace: Five Things We Need To Do To Beat Man City
Back in August when the fixtures first came out, the initial thrill of seeing Palace rubbing shoulders with the big boys was soon replaced by apprehension as it sunk in that we were really going to have play the might of some of Europe’s biggest clubs. The fact that we had Man City towards the end of the season was not good for our chances, but lo and behold we are already safe and can face the task without fear. They may even be a wee bit worried by their visit to Selhurst.
The recent five match-winning run has been a revelation. Suddenly Tony Pulis is being hailed as one of the managers of the year, and players such as Puncheon are being lauded as outsiders for the World Cup. What is going on? Someone has lost the script, as we should be panicking about dropping into the bottom three not sitting comfortably in mid-table. Pulis has reminded everyone that this is not a time for self-congratulation, “if you start patting yourself on the back in football someone will kick you up the backside. So it’s very important to keep our feet on the ground.”
3. FAB FOUR
Our exceptional defensive record since November, with only 20 goals conceded over 24 games, has been the rock on which the resurgence has been built. Delaney has been better than we could have dared hope for and has benefited from Dann’s solidity since arriving in January. Mariappa has also proved himself and the ever-present Ward has made the transition to Premier League barely missing a beat or indeed a tackle. Then behind this formidable back line, club veteran Speroni has defied his age with an increasing agility and ability to repel all boarders.
4. ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE
The single quality that has made all this possible is the unity of the squad. Man for man they should not be able to stand up to the likes of Kompany, Toure and Aguero, but the players have an indomitable spirit and they are all very much in this together. Never has Aristotle’s phrase that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts been more valid. Backed by the most vociferous and loyal fans, the chemistry is just right.
5. ON A WING AND A PRAYER
There is no point in trying to highlight any particular strength in City’s armoury to nullify, as that would be a long, thankless task. But the one player who makes them tick is the slippery Silva who, when on form, can wreak havoc (as he did against Liverpool in the early part of the second half a few weeks ago), so we must starve him of possession. In return, Bolasie has begun to truly impose himself and is perhaps the key to answer our prayers.
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