Football

Crystal Palace: Will they break Derby's record?

Holloway's Palace have just one win this season (©GettyImages)
Holloway's Palace have just one win this season (©GettyImages).

Life is always tough at the bottom, particularly in the Premier League. 

In the Championship, a bad run of form always generates misery around a club but with games coming around so fast, patience is the key as a win is just around the corner.

However this season, newly-promoted Crystal Palace are competing with the big boys in England's top flight.

Ian Holloway has already taken his side to Old Trafford and Anfield and have come away with nothing. He knows as well as anyone from his time at Blackpool, the quality that the top-end teams possess.

However he also knows that you must beat the teams around you. Despite beating Sunderland 3-1 back in August, his side have lost seven out of eight games this season.

After being stuffed by Fulham last night by a 4-1 scoreline, everyone associated with the club must be asking themselves; where is our next point coming from? 

Derby County posted a record breaking lowest points tally in the 2007/08 season, with just 11. They won just the one home game at home to Newcastle United and failed to register a single away win. After eight games, they were on five points, two ahead Palace.

Even Portsmouth beat that total despite a nine-point deduction in the 2009/10 season, eventually finishing bottom on 19 points after the penalty.

It may sound ludicrous to start suggesting now in October that Palace will score lower than 11 points but the climb to safety already looks twice as steep as the cracks are beginning to show.

Similarly to Derby, Palace's playoff final win against Watford came as a surprise, with Gianfranco Zola's Watford side underperforming at Wembley.

The south London's arrival to the Premier League may have been premature, but no team would turn down the chance to play in one of the world's best leagues.

Palace deserved promotion after spending the first half of the season at the top of the Championship, with much help from Glenn Murray.

Murray was outstanding last season for Holloway's men, scoring 30 league goals in the last campaign. Derby didn't have an out and out goalscorer, Palace do. But they need the 30 year-old to be fit otherwise they won't have the firepower to win games and fight for survival.

The loss of Wilfried Zaha to Manchester United was a big blow. The 20-year-old signed for United for a fee up to £15m in January however was loaned back to Selhurst Park for the rest of last season.

His performance in the playoff semi-final second leg against Brighton was exceptional. Palace desperately miss the lightening pace and the goalscoring threat that Zaha poses against opposition defences.

Instead they used the money on unproven and inexperienced forwards. Dwight Gayle has shown promise in the lower leagues, particularly for Dagenham and Peterborough.

But the Premier League looks to be a level too for the 23-year-old who has been rushed into top flight football. His transfer fee of £4.5m could have been spent on strengthening more areas of the squad and not on one young man, with the world now on his shoulders.

Marouane Chamakh came to Palace to rejuvenate his career however he has become an instant flop. The Moroccan striker has not shown any fight for the cause, with a return of just one league goal for the club so far.

Kevin Phillips is their only proven Premier league striker, but at the age of 40, fitness is an obvious concern.

Quite simply there is not enough experience in that squad. Seven players have made 50 or more Premier League appearances but a lot of the squad members have plied their trade in the Football League.

Similarly to Derby when they came up, the experience came from Darren Moore, but he couldn't handle the pace of the game, Danny Gabbidon could quite easily fall into that category in Palace's squad.

This was similar situation with Holloway at Blackpool when they were in the Premier League in 2010.

Despite putting up a fight, they also went back down and had a very inexperienced squad to go with it. Holloway claims that he has learned from his mistakes from his time at Bloomfield Road but there are gaps in his strategy again with Palace. You cannot play attractive, attacking football if you can't keep clean sheets.

Despite Julian Speroni's efforts in goal, the backline lack discipline and have made some crucial mistakes, leading to cheap goals.  

Blackpool were eventually found out, this time Palace have been punished early.

November is crucial for the Eagles. Before that, they face a high flying Arsenal at home. But next month they have four league matches that they must pick up points in; Everton at home before facing West Bromwich Albion, Hull City and Norwich City away.


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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Crystal Palace

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