Friday, 20 February 2015

Crystal Palace (A)

It's been a long time since my last post for various reasons and a lot has happened since then including a derby defeat, progression in the FA Cup and a draw at Old Trafford in the next round. Rather than cover it all I'm just going to assume you're all following and move on.

The games come thick and fast now with FA Cup ties, Champions League matches and of course the league all starting to pick up so we travel to Crystal Palace this weekend and there's a chance to leapfrog Southampton in fourth as they entertain Liverpool at St. Mary's on Sunday. Tottenham sit just two points behind us and we need to make sure they don't steal a march going into the business end of the season. 

Crystal Palace have enjoyed a revival under Alan Pardew and will be difficult to beat away from home. Pardew's sides are always physical so we know what to expect, but we're also on a good run and it'd be good to keep the pressure on those above us. Team news is overall positive with Wilshere returning along with the OX after spells on the side lines. Sanchez overcame a knock to play against Boro in the cup and I expect him to retain his place. Impressive Mesut Ozil will be hopeful of keeping his place also. Hector Bellerin is a doubt and needs to be assessed but if not we have Chambers who can step in as cover. Ospina should regain his place between the sticks after a break at the weekend.

Palace are a side who's dangers lie in the potential pace from the likes of Zaha along with star player Dwight Gayle who can hit a ball and find the net with relative ease as Liverpool have found out on various occasions. At the back Hangerland will give Giroud a tough time with his height and build but the pace of our players going forward will cause him problems. They also have a new left back who is lined up for his first taste of Premier League which could be an outlet for Sanchez to get in behind. 

So 3 points this weekend could be very welcome with Southampton and Tottenham facing tricky games against Liverpool and West Ham respectively. Let's hope we can push on before our huge last 16 game against Monaco on Tuesday. COYG