Off to Palace after best week of the season
Tomorrow we make the long journey to Crystal Palace just seven days after a similar journey to face their fierce rivals Brighton & Hove Albion.
Things weren’t looking too good ahead of last week’s game. We sat bottom of the league with just one win all season and, despite having games in hand, reaching safety before the end of the season looked a very difficult task.
It will still be difficult but we won convincingly at Brighton and then added that super victory against Spurs on Wednesday. Let’s not get too carried away; we are still in a relegation position but the much better news is that all of Newcastle, Everton, Leeds and even Brentford are within striking distance. What those two wins have done is give us a better chance but they’ve also given everyone such a lift. Supporters I’ve spoken to this week, particularly since Spurs, have had an extra spring in their step.
We can’t get too carried away but when I read from someone on the message board suggesting another five wins should be enough, that’s a hell of a difference from last week when the win column showed one from 21 games played.
We’ve won those game and turned in those performances with the squad hit yet again with absences. James Tarkowski missed Brighton and Ashley Westwood has missed both games. Maxwel Cornet was forced off at Brighton with an injury that is now keeping him out. But the players who have stepped in, be it the inexperienced Nathan Collins or the vastly experienced Jack Cork and Jay Rodriguez, have all done superbly well.
“We have just got to take each game as it comes. We can’t afford to get too carried away after a couple of good results. Our next big game is the next one, which is Palace this weekend and all the focus goes into that now. We just need to take the momentum from the past few days into the weekend and hope for more of the same.”
Sean Dyche might just have more players to select from. Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson won’t be available having suffered a calf injury on his return to training after suffering appendicitis. Matěj Vydra is on his way back but unlikely to be ready while the manager has suggested that Cornet will be touch and go which usually means he won’t be fit.
We can expect both Charlie Taylor and Ashley Westwood to return. Taylor has missed the last six games with a foot injury and Westwood has been out for the two wins because of covid. I suspect, particularly after the way Erik Pieters and Jack Cork have played, that they will be on the bench if available.
I expect us to be unchanged which would see us line up: Nick Pope, Connor Roberts, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Erik Pieters, Aaron Lennon, Josh Brownhill, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Wout Weghorst, Jay Rodriguez. Subs from: Wayne Hennessey, Matt Lowton, Phil Bardsley, Nathan Collins, Kevin Long, Bobby Thomas, Charlie Taylor, Dale Stephens, Ashley Westwood, Ashley Barnes, Lewis Richardson.
Crystal Palace ended last season in fourteenth place in the table with 44 points. Manager Roy Hodgson left, as did a number of players, and when a number of potential new managers said no it looked as though things wouldn’t go too well for them this season.
It’s not been the case although, prior to Wednesday, they’d had a difficult start to 2022 in the league with three draws and three defeats from six games. They put that right at Watford. As we were beating Spurs, they won 4-1 at Vicarage Road, a result that has moved them ahead of both Leicester and Aston Villa into 11th place. They’ve scored 36 goals this season; that’s fifteen more than us, but they have conceded eight more.
The Palace team against Watford was: Jack Butland, Nathaniel Clyne, Joachim Andersen, Marc Guéhi, Tyrick Mitchell, Conor Gallagher, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Will Hughes, Michael Olise, Jean-Philippe Mateta, Wilfried Zaha. Subs: Remi Matthews, Luka Milivojevic, Jordan Ayew, Eberechi Eze, Jeffrey Schlupp, James McArthur, Christian Benteke, Odsonne Édouard, Martin Kelly.
LAST TIME WE WERE THERE
What a day it was for us at Palace in February last year. Having won at Liverpool and beaten Aston Villa at home, we’d picked up just one further point from three games but turned in one of our best performances of the season at Selhurst Park.
You can’t beat making a good start and we did just that and scored the goals too. Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson gave us a fifth minute lead when the ball dropped for him after good work from Erik Pieters and Dwight McNeil on the left. He stepped away from a defender before placing a left foot shot past Vicente Guaita.
Five minutes later and we’d doubled the lead when Jay Rodriguez scored the simplest of headers from a right wing corner.
The game was won and ended 3-0 to give us our third away win of the season.
The teams were;
Crystal Palace: Vicente Guaita, Nathaniel Clyne, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Scott Dann, Patrick van Aanholt, Jordan Ayew, Luka Milivojevic, Jairo Riedewald, Eberechi Eze, Michy Batshuayi (Andros Townsend 62), Christian Benteke (Jean-Philippe Mateta 76). Subs not used: Jack Butland, Joel Ward, Gary Cahill, Martin Kelly, Tyrick Mitchell.
Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee (Kevin Long 84), Erik Pieters (Phil Bardsley 87), Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson (Robbie Brady 72), Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Ashley Barnes, Jay Rodriguez. Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Jimmy Dunne, Anthony Glennon, Dale Stephens, Josh Brownhill, Joel Mumbongo.Follow UpTheClarets:
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