Eye on the Opposition: Bournemouth vs. Crystal Palace (30.01.2017)

Written by Jack Pierce

Crystal Palace play Bournemouth in a must-not-lose fixture on a day that will no doubt be busy for a whole bunch of other reasons, too. Here's Jack Pierce with his Eye on the Opposition. 

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Transfer Deadline Day.

Jim White in a yellow tie.

Twitter abuzz all day.

Oh, and a game of football.

If you didn't know, rumours circulating about the future of Premier League squad players will have to fit in between actual games of football. There's a full top flight programme of games over Tuesday and Wednesday evening and any manager wanting to do business between now and the end of the window maybe put in the position of having to negotiate or conclude deals while observing his side from the dugout.

How on earth did we get here?!

Our opponents on Tuesday night, Bournemouth, haven't used the window at all yet but may dip into the market if a viable replacement for the recalled Nathan Ake becomes available. There were whispers of John Terry heading down to Dorset but such stories looked far fetched at the time and seem to have proven exactly that as the window's close draws nearer.

This season has the look of being a perfect 'second season' for Eddie Howe and his side. Often assessed as more difficult than a club's first season in the top flight, Bournemouth currently sit 12th, ten points above us and look to be set to continue their stay in the Premier League for another season; something that is only a hope for our lot at the moment. They've gone about their business quietly and haven't once been mentioned in view of the fight to stay up. Howe and his players' stock will continue to rise if they remain steady between now and the end of the season.

Jack Wilshere, rumoured to be a target for Alan Pardew's Palace back in August before joining Bournemouth on a season long loan, hasn't quite hit the heights that he, Howe and probably Arsene Wenger would've hoped and unless his form spectacularly improves during the second half of the season, the summer will see further conjecture about the midfielder's long term future. He hasn't been a disappointment for Bournemouth but he hasn't dictated games or even been Bournemouth's best midfielder in most games. The hope that this loan spell would kickstart Wilshere's career hasn't come to fruition as of yet.

A repeat of last season's Boxing Day 0-0 would stop the rot and see Sam Allardyce pick up just his second point since taking over but Tuesday night is actually a decent chance to pick up a win. Bournemouth, while not involved in the race to The Championship, are the sort of side the manager and players should be looking to take points from.

Let's hope the club remember to bring the fax machine with them and find an extension long enough before kick off so the multitasking of the manager is as easy as possible.

And that's before he's had a chance to eye up any of Dorset's finest Chinese takeaways!

Jack is our regular contributor of Eye on the Opposition pieces, as well as in our fanzine editions. You can follow him on Twitter.