Eye On The Opposition: Crystal Palace vs Sunderland (4/2/2017)

Written by Jack Pierce

Ah, a Palace win. Makes everything better doesn’t it?

That’s until you remember Donald Trump is, well, Donald Trump, our own country ‘s future is up in the air without any real plan in place and Nigel Farage supposedly supports the same football team as you do.

*Stares longingly into the distance*

Anyway, football.

David Moyes brings his Evert… Sunderland team to Selhurst on Saturday off the back of a decent draw at home to much fancied Tottenham and despite being bottom of the league and only managing to bring in Everton cast offs during the window, Moyes and his squad don’t seem too down in the dumps and still harbour a hope of staying up. It’ll be tough but a win against our lot on Saturday would bring them level on points with us and further the confidence of an against the odds survival come May. Defeat and they’ll be another step closer to Wigan and Bristol City away next season.

Hopes for maintaining top flight status fall on Jermain Defoe’s shoulders. He might be 47 years old now but he still knows his way to goal and without his goals so far this season, Sunderland fans daren’t imagine where they’d be. Our manager, who also benefited from Defoe’s superb form towards the end of last season, will hopefully know how to curtail the threat the former West Ham, Spurs and, of course, Toronto FC man offers. One would hope that should Defoe be kept quiet, Palace will go a long way to winning this very, very important game.

Defensively, Sam Allardyce worked wonders last season to turn them from a flimsy, easily beaten unit into one of the best organised defences outside of the top six. Lamine Kone, a unit among units, was a revelation and quadrupled his value after just half a season of Premier League football. He has sort of returned to the form he showed under Allardyce after a difficult start to the season but was away for much of January with Ivory Coast. It’ll be interesting to see how his spell away from regular club football will affect him. He’s likely to have his hands full with Christian Benteke who, despite grief from some quarters, has won more aerial duels than any other Premier League striker this season.

David Moyes, still appearing haunted from his time as manager of Manchester United, has his work out trying to keep his side up especially since Ellis Short has decided to do a Randy Lerner and withdraw new funds for additions to a squad stocked with bang average players on high wages. In an effort to add new blood to the squad, Moyes agreed to the sale of Patrick van Aanholt to our free spending lot having negotiated the fair whack of £14 million if reports are to believed. It doesn’t seem he had much luck in attracting new faces and Joelon Lescott, Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo joining the Toffee-Lite tribute act that Moyes is forming is about as exciting as it gets for Mackems.

There were rumours that Tony Hibbert was being eyed up but upon hearing of Sunderland’s interest, he turned off his phone and returned to his burgeoning career as a Vladimir Putin impersonator.
There’s no denying that Saturday is a huge contest for both sides and Palace must be wary. In the last two seasons, we’ve welcomed Sunderland to

Selhurst fully expecting a win only to be disappointed. A defeat on Saturday would be disastrous and rid us of all the good spirit that emerged after the win on the coast on Tuesday night.

This is of course the first time that our manager has met the team he left during the summer to take the England job. It was the superb job he did at The Stadium of Light during the second half of last season that put him to the head of the queue to replace Roy Hodgson after the disappointment of Euro 2016.

Tuesday night was hopefully the start of such a turn up in form for our lot.

They’ll be expectant Selhurst hoping so come Saturday.