Crystal Palace are on the cusp of Europe
Since Alan Pardew took over at Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace have transformed into one of the most consistent sides in the top flight. The Eagles are deadly away from home and while they have struggled in front of their own fans at times, Palace are certainly improving and have won their last two Premier League games at Selhurst Park.
Palace are joint-fourth in the table, which is testament to the work of Pardew and his backroom staff. In fact, many have tipped the Eagles manager for the England job in the future and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Pardew on the Wembley touchline at some stage in his career. For now though, he’s focused on guiding Palace to another top-half finish – here’s why they should aim higher.
The Eagles are difficult to break down
When Pardew arrived at Palace, they were in the midst of a relegation battle. Since then, the Eagles have climbed up the table. Why? Pardew immediately focused on improving Palace’s leaky defence. Now, only three teams – Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United – have conceded fewer goals than Palace this season.
Palace are now reliable defensively and Pardew’s impact is a key reason for that. While they don’t keep that many clean sheets, Palace are a well-organised, disciplined side and are more than capable of shutting out some of the Premier League’s top offensive units.
Palace’s pace on the counter attack is lethal
In attack, the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Yannick Bolasie and Jason Puncheon can cause problems for the division’s best defences. Palace have won 11 of their last 15 away fixtures in the Premier League – an incredible achievement. Whichever way you look at it, the Eagles are extraordinary on the road.
Throughout the calendar year, Palace have been superb on the road. In fact, it could be argued that their away form is the main reason why they finished in the top 10 last season. If they continue to shine away from home and improve at Selhurst Park, there’s absolutely no reason why Palace cannot finish in the Europa League places this season.
Pardew has instilled a great work ethic at Selhurst Park
Crucially, Palace are now playing for the fans, their manager and most importantly, themselves. Previously, the Eagles looked disjointed and low on confidence but have been much improved during Pardew’s tenure. Players such as Scott Dann, Damien Delaney and James McArthur have bought into Pardew’s managerial philosophy and are all performing incredibly well.
Palace’s attacking-minded players are defending from the front too, which is helping the Eagles to regain possession on a regular basis. Although possession football isn’t Palace’s forte, Pardew’s men are much more comfortable on the ball and prefer to attack rather than defend with ten men behind the play.
Can Crystal Palace finish in the Europa League places this season or is that one step too far for Pardew’s men? Let us know your thoughts!