Crystal Palace: Will The Real Tom Ince Please Step Forward?
1. TAMING TWO LIONS
After Wednesday’s dreary match against the Danes, only a few players come out with any credit and two of them were Southampton players. Lallana who outshone the substituted Wilshere and Shaw who made a very composed debut at left back were impressive and we need to douse their fire. Here’s hoping that Mark Clattenburg was right when he suggested Lallana had changed since he played for England and was getting too big for his boots. We need to give both Adam & Luke a sharp reminder that this is Selhurst not Wembley.
2. STOP DIVING NOW
Tony Pulis’ admirably strong and uncompromising approach to diving has endeared him even further with the Palace faithful and indeed the football world in general. By fining both Jerome Thomas and Chammers for their swan dives against the Swans, Pulis sent out a clear message that such chicanery will not be tolerated. “It’s a disease. It’s one we’re almost rid of but if people do it they’ve got to be reminded it’s not right.” And so say all of us.
3. A GAME OF TWO HALVES
Having claimed the moral high ground we now need to get ourselves up the league table and build on the draw against Swansea, which was only our seventh point away from home. Sunday’s schizophrenic performance where we were woeful in the first half and forceful in the second illustrated a couple of key issues. Pulis admitted he got it wrong at half time and changed the shape of the team with Murray and Jerome upfront. This shows that we can be vulnerable if we allow teams too much room and time to play. But significantly, it showed we can turn things round and like all good managers, Pulis is not afraid to ring the necessary changes.
4. STRIKING PAIR
Like Swansea, Southampton are a decent footballing team who can string plenty of passes together whilst retaining possession for long periods so we need to rattle their cage, be as positive as we were during the second half of the Swansea game and dictate the play. We must start with two upfront, with Murray as the spearhead with either Chammers, if he has recovered from his hamstring injury, or Jerome alongside. It is a risk starting Murray a she is not yet fully fit but his goal prowess is sorely needed.
5. INCE THE ENIGMA
Tom Ince is already proving to be bit of an enigma. In his three games to date he started with a dream debut when he scored and looked menacing throughout, then in his next game against Man United he looked anonymous playing out wide and finally on Sunday he was substituted at half time as part of Pulis’ tactical changes. As I have mentioned, Ince could be the difference between survival and relegation but we need to see more of the sprightly catalyst we enjoyed against West Brom and not the rather anaemic shows of the last two games. So can the real Tom Ince please step forward.
Follow Richard on Twitter, @RCFoster