Crystal Palace aren’t the first name you would think of as being in relegation trouble this season, but there are reasons to be fearful for Roy Hodgson’s side.
Their form, for one thing, is abysmal. “It is relegation form,” said Tom Williams on this week’s Totally Football Show. “Six league games without a win, only one win in the last ten.”
Goals are also an issue. They have only managed 22 so far this season, which is the lowest in the Premier League, and doesn’t really make for especially entertaining viewing.
“It can’t be huge fun being a Palace fan,” said Tom, “great atmosphere though you get at Selhurst Park, knowing that the best you can hope for is a scratchy 1-0 win because none of your strikers can be relied upon to score goals. Wilfried Zaha isn’t quite as effective as last season in that respect.”
“It would’ve been massive for them to get Jarrod Bowen instead of West Ham, a proven goalscorer,” said Matt Davies-Adams.
The reason that they keep their head above water is a tight defence, backed up by an excellent goalkeeper. “Vicente Guaita has been a big part of Palace’s relative success this season,” offered Sasha Guryunov, “because he saves much more than he should – the most in the Premier League in fact. If you look at xGA, Palace should have conceded ten more goals than they have done, and the reason they haven’t is Guaita.”
But even he failed them this weekend, donating three points to Sheffield United with a calamitous error, dropping a cross over the line in their 1-0 defeat.
So are they in danger of getting sucked into the relegation battle? Tom Williams suspects not:
“They’re six points clear, and I think the thing with Palace is there is a sort of fundamental hardiness to them: they don’t score goals and that has been a problem for the last two or three seasons, but because they let very few goals in they still manage to grind out results, so I would expect they will keep the relegation zone at arm’s length.”
Selhurst Park is not the place to go if you want entertainment this season, but they should still avoid the drop. Should…
The Totally Football Show is now out first thing on Monday mornings: you can listen to the latest edition here, and even better you can subscribe here. If you wish to reproduce any of the material in this article or from the podcast you are very welcome to, but please credit The Totally Football Show and include this link.