With 2013 a matter of hours away, the main story relating to us, in the eyes of the press at least, remains the future of Wilfried Zaha. Having spoken about it yesterday and on countless occasions in the past, I see no real reason to go over it once more, as there is nothing, other that a tweet from a fake Tom Soares twitter account, which is any different to what we knew yesterday. Yes, he looks as though he’s ready to move on, but until a bid is accepted, there is nothing significant to discuss. It’s quite simple, really.
Tomorrow afternoon, we welcome a severely out of form Wolves side to Selhurst Park in a game which even the most pessimistic of Palace fans will see as winnable. Stale Solbakken hasn’t enjoyed the best of starts to life in the Midlands, with his team having won only three of their last 15 matches, leaving their supporters feeling decidedly restless heading into the New Year.
Admittedly, we’re not the greatest run of form ourselves, having only won once in our last eight games, but you’d like to think that home advantage will see us over the line against a side who’ve endured back-to-back home defeats at the hands of Peterborough and Ipswich. Obviously, the increased speculation on Wilf’s future could lead to a performance similar to the one at The City Ground, which saw him substituted midway through the second half, but with Jonny Williams seemingly on the road to full recovery (fingers and toes crossed), and Glenn Murray continuing to find the net with incredible regularity, I remain confident of a good team performance.
The issue worrying most supporters, is the timing of the goals we are conceding, with Saturday’s trip to Forest acting as a perfect example. Having got another early lead, we found ourselves heading into half-time a 1 – 1, thanks to a stoppage time strike from the notorious salad dodger, Andy Reid. Similarly, in the third minute of added time at the end of the game, after once again going in front, Billy Sharp managed to get a header in on goal, which bounced off the post and fell invitingly back towards his feet. He levelled up the scores, and the inquest began yet again.
When you look at our results on paper, nothing appears to be going wrong. We’ve only lost twice in over 20 games and we’re scoring goals more frequently than we have for a number of years, but when you realise how many points we’ve surrendered from winning positions since the season began, you can’t help but wonder what might have been. From the very first day, when we incredibly let a 2 – 1 lead slip at home to lose 3 – 2 in the final minutes against Watford, it’s been a trend.
Obviously, we’ve won our fair share of games too, hence our impressive league position going into 2013, but had even half of the points we had within our grasp been held onto since August, we’d be comfortably placed within the automatic promotion places, and with January already looking like a month when our competitors at the top will be bringing in sizeable reinforcements, it’s a source of frustration for everyone at the club.
A lot of people have been quick to ask if Ian Holloway may be one of the reasons behind our recent slackness in the final minutes of halves, but I don’t think he’s got a great deal to do with it. Quite often, the goals have come via a sloppy pass, or a player being careless in possession, and with all due respect, Ollie isn’t inside each and every players mind as the minutes tick down. It’s quite likely, that the fear of conceding late goals has snuck into the collective thoughts of our players, as it has happened so often this season, forming a sort of inevitable habit, similar to our apparent inability to win games away from home not so long ago.
On that occasion, it became a running joke amongst the fans, with the players no doubt aware of it, too. When it changed, it wasn’t because drastic changes had been made, just that the team had managed to get the monkey off their back by winning one, banishing negative thoughts and a large chunk of the inevitable nerves. It’s just something we’re going through at the moment, but I’m certain it will change sooner rather than later. Hopefully with a solid victory against Wolves tomorrow.
Here’s today’s round-up.
PS. Happy New Year!
All the news from SE25 in the last 24 hours
We first met in League opposition over ninety years ago in our first ever season in Division Two and Wolves were the visitors to our previous ground at The Nest, which used to be opposite Selhurst Station, on Saturday 19th November 1921 when a goal from Bert Menlove was sufficient to earn a point for Palace and on Wolves’ first visit to Selhurst Park Palace claimed both the points with a 2-1 victory on 13th December 1924, the Palace goals coming from Tom Hoddinott and Bill Hand.
“We had a very offensive team against Ipswich, playing with two defensive midfielders but then Doyler, Sigurdarson and Sako behind Sylvan.
“It was more or less the same against Birmingham but with Dave Davis in for Tongo to have a little bit more defensive security.
“But it didn’t work.
“We are in this together but I have the responsibility – I pick the team and the players and do what I think is right.
“I have obviously got it very wrong over the last two games.
“When things aren’t going the way they should be the least we should give is hard work and I don’t think we did that through the team against Ipswich.
“You are not always going to have your best days and Saturday certainly wasn’t one of those but I put it down to not working hard as a team.
“If there are misplaced passes than fair enough but if you are not willing to track back and help each other then it’s only going to end in one result.”
A fake Tom Soares twitter account set the Arsenal fans tongues wagging last night when he wished Wilf well at Arsenal. It seems many of their fans had never heard of Tom and as a result, assumed it was a done deal. Those poor, success starved souls…
Tom Soares came through Crystal Palace’s youth system overlapping with Zaha for one year in the youth team before Soares moved to the first team in 2003 and he remained at the club until 2008.
Arsenal have been linked with a move for Crystal Palace’s Zaha for a few months now and while it seemed as if Palace would try to hold on to the player in order to secure promotion experts widely speculated that both a strong bid and a request from the player to leave would see him allowed to go.
The Daily Mail, in direct contrast to the above rumour have stated it’s United who are chiefly interested. Having an £8 million bid turned down. Unofficially, of course, the madness of the window is truly upon us.
Crystal Palace will reject Manchester United’s opening offer of £8million for star winger Wilfried Zaha.
The 20-year-old is keen to move to the Premier League in January with United and Arsenal involved in a straight fight for his signature.
Palace chairman Steve Parish insists Zaha will not leave for less than £20m but it is believed a bid of half that will test the Championship club’s stance.