Crystal Palace took a step close to Premier League survival with a 1-0 victory over Watford at Selhurst Park this afternoon.
Today’s win was The Eagles third successive victory and clean sheet in a row and their fourth victory and clean sheet in six games.
It seems that things are finally clicking for Sam Allardyce now he has had time to get over his ideas to the team after a major shake up of the coaching setup.
However, I remain cautious in my optimism because I know the fixtures coming up in April after the international break are tough.
With six games in April and three in May, with the game against Tottenham still to be arranged, it will be a busy period for the club and could be a real test of the squad’s fitness.
In the first half of the season we had a lack of options at the back but now we have a real lack of options up front. In the game today, Christian Benteke looked like a striker low on moral as he fluffed a couple of good opportunities to shoot on goal. He seemed to want to take one too many touches each time and ended up being tackled.
Wilfred Zaha on the other hand is a player who is going from strength to strength. In the past I have criticised him for a lack of end product yet while he still needs to add more goals and assists to his game he is a player who frightens the oppositions defence and he should really get more protection than he does.
It’s sad but probably true that if he does make another big money move he’ll probably get more decisions than he currently does.
While the team as a whole played well today the game as a spectacle was dire in large parts. We won and did what was needed to secure the victory but it was the kind of game where I wish my internet had gone down to free me to do something else.
Troy Deeney scored in his own net from a Yohan Cabaye free kick. Though assists can’t be awarded for own goals, if they were it would be Cabaye’s third assist in three games. That is something remarkable in itself given his previous assist was last season.
All in all it was decent, if fortunate victory. Maybe if I am honest a draw would have been what we deserved but when you think we should have won the reverse fixture had Benteke not missed his penalty then it evened itself up.
We have 28 points with 30 remaining to be won. We need 12 points to reach the ‘magic’ 40 but Big Sam thinks 38 points will be enough.
I think it will be more about other teams dropping points because I think it will be tough to get to 38 points.
The remaining fixtures with my prediction.
|1st April||Chelsea (a)||L|
|5th April||Southampton (a)||D|
|10th April||Arsenal (h)||D|
|15th April||Leicester (h)||D|
|23rd April||Liverpool (a)||L|
|29th April||Burnley (h)||W|
|6th May||Manchester City (a)||L|
|13th May||Hull (h)||W|
|21st May||Manchester United (a)||L|
I think we’ll win 9 more points and scrape to safety.