Crystal Palace: Five Things We Need To Do To Beat West Ham
Four wins on the trot is almost too good to be true but that is what Palace have achieved. The fact that we have now dented the ambitions of Chelsea’s Premier League title and Everton’s Champions League qualification along the way proves that this team has made immense strides under Pulis. Some of this success comes from consistent selection, when we played Everton the only change was enforced as KG was injured; otherwise it would have been the same line-up for fifth successive match. When you are winning there is no need to tinker.
Pulis has adapted the style of play in such a way that the team now play to their strengths, which is a well-organised back four, a combative midfield, quick wingers and a hard-working target man. It may not be the tiki-taka style beloved of the purists but it certainly is not Neanderthal football either. As the manager has explained, the ball is moved as quickly as possible to the wings to enable us to put pressure on the opposition. Puncheon has been a revelation recently especially with his haul of goals, but Bolasie has also been much improved and is getting nearer to that elusive first Premier League goal.
Facing Allardyce’s West Ham is never going to be a beauty contest. The blunt instrument that is Andy Carroll has to be countered so Dann and Delaney need to withstand the aerial bombardment that is bound to be launched at them. If Nolan is fit, he is also a danger as he dovetails so well with his former Newcastle colleague, picking up the scraps so he needs to be watched carefully. We need to be ready for the battle and General Jedinak needs to lead from the front so we can gain a foothold in the match.
If there is one positive to come out of Cardiff’s claims it is how meticulous Pulis is in his preparation. Refuting the Tan-inspired bleating of the last few days, Pulis revealed how he monitors every single session and has a record if needed to show to any Premier League enquiry. The best managers concentrate on their own team and how they can impose their style on the opposition, rather than worry themselves to distraction over how the other side will line up. West Ham will not spring many surprises so Palace can focus their efforts on the task ahead.
5. FORTY PLUS
Having reached the magic 40-point mark this is no time to sit back and dream. All the players realise that the next four matches are as important as the last thirty-four and that the momentum built up over the last month must be carried forward. Barring the Cardiff appeal and an extraordinary set of results we should be safe but nobody can relax. Upton Park is a tough place to go and West Ham have a reasonable home record so it is going to be a challenge but one that they should be capable of meeting.
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