The Crystal Palace fans are feeling nervous in the Transfer Tavern ahead of their huge clash against Brighton & Hove Albion tomorrow afternoon.
Roy Hodgson’s side have been playing extremely well in recent weeks for a side who are so dangerously teetering on the edge of the relegation, but if the Eagles wish to stay up this season they will need to convert their positive performances into positive results. Next up for Palace is a 6-pointer clash against their fellow relegation-rivals Brighton & Hove Albion at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.
Considering Palace are just 3-points clear of the relegation zone having played a game more than 18th place Southampton with just 5 fixtures left to play, the importance of their weekend fixture cannot be expressed highly enough. Palace were in decent form last time out against Bournemouth but a late equaliser from Josh King ensured that the two sides shared the spoils at the Vitality Stadium.
One of the main reasons for Palace’s impressive performance was due to the absence of Christian Benteke. The Belgian striker has been incredibly wasteful in-front of goal this season and, his lack of mobility in the final-third has rather stifled Palace’s threat on the break.
Due to the mini injury crisis which is affecting Palace’s strikers at this moment in time, Hodgson made the decision to start Andros Townsend (valued at £10.8 million by Transfermarkt) upfront last weekend and it was a decision that certainly seemed to pay off. Townsend’s pace and direct style of dribbling posed Bournemouth’s defence a major problem all afternoon and, his link-up play with Wilfired Zaha offered the Eagles an incisive attacking dynamic which has eluded them for the majority of the season so far.
Whether Benteke manages to return from injury for Palace’s clash tomorrow remains to be seen, but Hodgson should stick with the same attacking line-up which started against Bournemouth, regardless of whether he is fit enough to start.
Time is running out for Palace to save their season, so Hodgson has to be ruthless with his decision making to ensure that his side beat the drop during the final weeks of the season, starting today when he simply must select Townsend in Benteke’s place to spearhead the attack.
Palace fans – should Townsend start up-front? Let us know below!
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