At the end of August, NBCSN’s Rebecca Lowe’s beloved Crystal Palace was one of the stories of a young Premier League season. Alan Pardew’s men won three of their first four matches, and were sitting second in the table.
As the league takes a breather for the fourth round of the FA Cup, Palace resides in 11th place on 31 points. The Eagles are very much a mid-table side — six points off of a Europa League spot and 10 points north of the relegation zone.
Still, as Palace gear up for a home clash with Stoke this weekend, the trends are not working in its favor.
The team has managed only one goal in its last six EPL matches, with the result being two draws and four losses.
So, Connor Wickham’s three-match ban for violent conduct after an elbow to the face of Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen (if upheld) is particularly ill-timed.
With or without him, the Eagles need some goals from their strikers. Wickham has the only striker’s goal for the team this season, which explains why the club has been linked with Loic Remy and Nicklas Bendtner in the transfer market.
Today, the club signed Emmanuel Adebayor on a free transfer. The Togo international has 94 Premier League goals with Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester City to his credit, but hasn’t played in a competitive match since a substitute appearance in May of last year.
— Crystal Palace FC (@CPFC) January 26, 2016
It’s a low-risk, high-reward sort of move, but not one the club can fully depend on to solve its goal deficiency issues.
“Obviously we are trying to bring a striker in,” Alan Pardew said recently. “Put Sergio Aguero in our side against Manchester City and I think we would have won that game.”
Yes, I suspect that he would make the Eagles decidedly better.
More realistically, Palace needs a return to health for winger Yannick Bolasie, who last played in the team’s last EPL win — a 2-1 win over Stoke City on Dec. 19. He’s been dealing with an injured hip, and apparently getting into car wrecks, too. He’s the team’s second-leading scorer with four EPL goals, so getting him back into the starting XI would be a boost.
With the points it has in hand, Crystal Palace isn’t in serious danger of relegation. But unless it finds a striker (or two) on the transfer market this month, it will be far closer to the drop zone than the top of the table by season’s end.