Preview: Sunderland vs Crystal Palace (2/3/2016)

Written by Jack Pierce

There aren't many thing that make me feel more nauseous than the thought of Palace's first half thumping at the hands of a side managed by Tony Pulis on Saturday evening.

And then I think of Sam Allardyce's face.

The thought of his brain masterminding the taking of six points from us this season is one I can barely consider but the way our lot are carrying on, it's a distinct possibility.

My piece is generally a piece on Palace's opposition but in view of going ten... TEN league games without a win, I can't ignore it.

Lose on Tuesday night and Sunderland, a side who've barely been out of the bottom three since a ball was kicked on the opening day of the season would go just six points behind us. Six points, call it seven with goal difference, is a fair hurdle for a side like Sunderland to overcome but I cannot believe it's even a consideration when you think where Palace were before Christmas.

On Sunday, after Swansea took the lead at White Hart Lane, my first thought wasn't of what impact that would have on Spurs' title tilt, but where a Swansea win would put them in comparison to us.

I don't consider myself a doom monger but the rate at which the side has let the euphoric and optimistic air ooze out of our season can only be taken one way. It's been awful.

Courtesy of the clearly defunct Premier League fixture computer, it's been deemed appropriate and fan friendly for Palace to travel to the other end of the country on a Tuesday night for a football match. When you consider that Sunderland fans have been asked to travel down to SE25 on Monday nights for the past two seasons for the convenience of those watching the game on TV, it's a wonder any of us are surprised by the ridiculous scheduling anymore.

Bravo to those making the trip to The Stadium of Light; you're hardier souls than I am. Provided the team doesn't offer up a first half performance akin to Saturday, you should enjoy your trip more than those who travelled to The Midlands did on Saturday but a win is really the reward those making the monumental trek deserve.

Anyway, enough of my whining; a little bit on Sunderland who themselves offered up little for their fans who made the trip for their lunch time trip to Upton Park on Saturday. 1-0 gives the impression it was a fairly close game but by all accounts, Sunderland were pretty ordinary. If you haven't yet checked out Wahbi Kazri's David Dunn impression, I suggest you do it soon before he bids to have every version of it removed from history.

Yes, it really is that bad.

Allardyce may well keep Sunderland up without doing much but needs to get a move on. He's hardly transformed The Black Cats into world beaters but they do now look a little steelier under Fat Sam's influence and as proven at Selhurst in November are able to pick up points using when deploying especially defensive tactics.

11 games to go and most likely, at least 12-15 points are still required if Sunderland are to avoid the drop. Tuesday is a huge game for them and Allardyce will be sure to let his players know that.

Hope our lot realise that before the start of the second half this time.

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