Why Crystal Palace are in trouble
No league wins in 2023. 27 points from 26 games. Two goals in their last five games. This is relegation form. If Crystal Palace are not careful, they will soon find themselves in the midst of a relegation scrap.
Firstly, although this form is concerning for Palace fans, they have recently played Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United. But conceding late at Brentford and an abject performance at Villa Park will be the bigger concerns.
The fixtures do not immediately improve for Palace either. Their next trip is to local rivals Brighton on Wednesday night, before they travel to the league leaders, Arsenal next Sunday. There is a good chance by the time we return from the March international break, Palace will be lingering above the relegation places.
A reason for optimism comes with the return of Zaha. The Ivorian had been out injured and although Palace held Brighton, Brentford and Liverpool, they lack a spark in their frontline, without their talisman. Zaha only has six goals so far this season. He may need to double this tally to keep them in the league.
Zaha needs support from those around him though. Mateta plays like a striker who only has one league goal this season. Ayew for all his effort, also only has goal this season. Olise and Eze are exciting to watch, but they are young players and this comes with inconsistencies.
The job he did in rebuilding the squad in his first season needs to be applauded and should have been enough to have earnt the trust of supporters and club executives
Defensively, they are a solid side. In Anderson and Guehi they have a formidable centre-back partnership. Doucouré has a great work rate, but they need more from Arsenal loanee, Sambi Lokonga.
When comparing Palace’s defensive record to the teams around them, they look to be safe. However, a glance at the pitiful goals for column, where they have registered just 21 goals in 26 games, makes for grim reading.
Palace fans need to turn Selhurst Park into a fortress for the rest of the season. Although it can be difficult to get behind a side lacking in attacking spark, if they do not add to their four wins at home, then the Championship beckons.
After such a strong first season and a half for Vieira, it feels wrong to be writing of Palace being in trouble. But their form and lack of goals in their team, mean they need an upturn in form and need it quickly.
This is absolutely not a call for Vieira to be sacked. The job he did in rebuilding the squad in his first season needs to be applauded and should have been enough to have earnt the trust of supporters and club executives. However, if he does keep Palace in the league, then he needs to be backed next summer, or I fear their days in the Premier League will be numbered.