Oh how the mighty have fallen. On Christmas Day, Crystal Palace was in 6th place, tied with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United for 4th. Just two months and 10 games later, Palace sit 14th, 15 points behind the top four. This was a team that I thought could have been a dark horse to grab a European spot. What happened to Crystal Palace? Can Crystal Palace get relegated?
Since Christmas Day just a little over two months ago, Crystal Palace has only scored a total of three points in 10 games, currently the lowest point total since that point in the entire EPL. To tell you how bad this stretch has been, Aston Villa has nine points in that same stretch (even winning against Palace) and this is a team who is no doubt getting relegated.
So what exactly happened? Well for one thing, the team cannot score goals anymore. Crystal Palace players hadn’t scored a goal in EPL competition from Boxing Day to February 2. Their only goal was a Jan Vertonghen own goal against Tottenham on January 23. Once they finally started scoring, Palace only scored five goals and the first two were scored by defender Scott Dann. Newly signed Emmanuel Adebayor finally scored a goal two weeks ago and Connor Wickham scored a brace in a losing effort to West Brom this past weekend. That is the extent of Crystal Palace’s attacking, five goals in two months and forwards accounting for just three of those goals. When you have issues scoring goals and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey struggling in this stretch, it’s a pretty bad formula.
Could this run be so bad that we could see Crystal Palace in a relegation battle? That depends on how long this bad run will continue. If Palace’s bad stretch extends another two months into the end of April and the relegation teams maintain their form, Palace would be just one point up on Sunderland, four points up on Newcastle and Norwich for two relegation spots. It’s difficult to determine if they will actually be put in a relegation fight but the discussion should be made that it’s a small possibility.
So what will happen next? For one thing, Crystal Palace plays Sunderland today in a game that could be bigger later in the season. Then, Palace must play Liverpool, Leicester City and West Ham, along with a make up game against Manchester United due to FA Cup commitments. Palace is going to need a different run of form quickly and the upcoming schedule doesn’t necessarily inspire confidence, even if they are unbeaten against Liverpool in EPL play since 2013. Alan Pardew and Crystal Palace must come up with a plan because if this continues, they could be seeing themselves as suffering the biggest fall from grace in Premier League history.