Crystal Palace: Forget Chelsea, Watch Out For Zaha's Return
1. SHOCK AND AWE
As we still recover from the shock of beating Chelsea last week (I am still shaking with a mixture of disbelief and delight), minds must be clear and fully focused on the task in hand. It was highly unusual for us to have taken any points from a team in the top half, this was only the second time this season we have avoided defeat against a top 10 side after just a goalless draw against Everton way back in the autumn. But it is against those around us that we must prove ourselves.
2. LAST LAP
But we have been here many times before and this is the time to kick on and not to rest on our laurels. There have been a couple of occasions in our previous flirtations with the Premier League when we have been edging towards safety only to stumble close to the finishing line. Infamously back in 1993 there was a premature lap of honour after beating Ipswich 3-0 but from nowhere then Oldham secured three wins in a week and it all went a bit Pete Tong.
3. WHO’S HUNGRY
Cardiff is a massive game as they are just in the relegation zone but only five points behind us. Using the momentum from last Saturday’s performance, which showed some real desire and hunger plus a steely determination that had gone missing over the last few weeks, hopefully the Chelsea match has set the tone for the last seven matches rather than it being a flash in the pan. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect is that we didn’t sit back after the goal and could have scored again. More of the same please.
4. GOALS GALORE
Cardiff themselves will be on a high after their remarkable recovery against West Brom. To bounce back from being 2-0 down early on and then 3-2 with seconds left shows resilience. But they are clearly fragile at the back having conceded 11 in their last three games so even our goal-shy forwards may have a chance. On Saturday Jerome was immense, chasing lost causes and making a bloody nuisance of himself. Pulis will undoubtedly try to keep things tight as is his wont in away games but a little adventure can go a long way and if Bolasie and Puncheon can get at the full backs they can be dangerous.
5. THE EX-FACTOR
Much has been made of the Welsh contingent that is at the heart of the Palace team led by Tony Pulis but our reunion with Wilfred Zaha may well be the key factor. Wilf will always be close to our hearts because of his efforts in getting us up last year. Having watched him develop from a gangly youth into an England international we have an affinity with him and we all felt his frustration at being ostracised at Old Trafford. The unwritten law that determines former players always score against us hovers threateningly but then in Ledley and Jerome maybe we have the upper hand.