Palace need goals
Securing Premier League football for next season was Crystal Palace’s raison d’être in August and their fate is still to be decided. With only nine games remaining in the league and Palace only one point above safety, every point earned is going to take a heroic effort.
March 19th, 2014
After a hard fought, but well deserved, scoreless draw with Sunderland at the weekend one thing was abundantly clear – they were crying out for a goal scorer. Since Tony Pulis was appointed manager the club has improved dramatically in defence but are failing to do the business at the other end which is, quite simply, why they haven’t won enough games.
Thus far Palace have managed only 19 Premier League goals in their 29 games.
This is simply not good enough and has made their very effective defence of little value; so far they have only conceded 38 goals which is the second fewest of the top 12 sides in the league. Normally a cohesive defensive unit should enable a struggling side to find themselves in more winnable positions but unfortunately this has not been a common occurrence.
Hopefully the timely return to the first team of Glenn Murray will boost the side’s attacking prowess. His comeback has highlighted just how much the club have missed their top scorer from last season after his awful injury sustained during last year’s playoffs.
Despite the returning Murray, the striking options were clearly a concern for Pulis in the January transfer window. It appeared it was going terrifically when he brought in Tom Ince from Blackpool on loan, which in itself was a bit of a coup at the time.
Ince has been talked about for a couple of years now and speculation linking him with some of the biggest and best clubs in England was rife. Coming to Palace he can further establish himself as a star of the future with a goal scoring run until the end of the season. If the Eagles can start to score a few goals in the coming games, aligned with their settled and organised defence, then survival should be achieved.
So far Pulis has accumulated 20 points from his 16 games but will know a further 10-15 will be needed from the final fixtures. Four of the games will feature sides in and around them and they could prove pivotal at this stage of the season. If a couple of victories can be strung together their position will improve dramatically and they will be anxious to secure that sooner rather than later.
It is by no means a surprise to see Crystal Palace fighting it out at the end of the season. Few, if any, would have expected an easy ride on their return to the Premier League and their recent improvement suggests that further obstacles can be dealt with. If they can begin to pick up a few vital points in the next couple of games then the pressure will reduce. However, in order to do that they must score more goals. The immediate future of the club hinges on their strikers and their ability to deliver when it really counts.