Dean Moxey is hoping to overcome a hamstring injury picked up during the win over Cardiff - and return for Palace's trip to Chelsea on Saturday.
The left-back had been an ever-present so far this season but hobbled off to be replaced by Adrian Mariappa - with Joel Ward moving to left-back and impressing.
Moxey told cpfc.co.uk: “I’ve had a scan this morning so it’s just about waiting for the results now.
“Obviously, Chelsea is one of the games you look forward to at the start of the season, so I just want to be back.
“Up until I came off on Saturday, I’d played every second of every game, so it’s disappointing to pick up an injury at this stage of the season, over Christmas when we’ve got a busy period.
“But that’s football, I’ve got to get on with it and get fit again.”
Meanwhile, another injured player is aiming a return as Adlene Guedioura recovers from a broken rib and punctured lung.
The Algerian midfielder was just hitting some form when he clashed with West Brom keeper Boaz Myhill last month.
"I am progressing well and I am doing my rehab at the moment from broken ribs," Guedioura told Sky Sports. "With broken ribs you can't do too much sometimes even if you are feeling well, but at the moment I am feeling well and I expect to come back soon.
"I am working hard to come back soon and help my team, my team-mates and the manager to stay in the Premier League."
Guerdioura's last game for Palace came under caretaker manager Keith Millen, but he is confident he can reclaim a place under new boss Tony Pulis.
He added: "I spoke to him [Pulis] and I am looking forward to working under him and we are all working to be in the Premier League next season.
"It was a difficult start and it was sad when we lost Ian Holloway, but sometimes this happens in football and now we have to look forward.
"We are working with the manager Tony Pulis at the moment and we are in a good dynamic and in good form and we want to continue that.
"Tony Pulis is a very experienced manager in the Premier League and I am sure he is going to give us that little extra to be in the Premier League next season.
"We have to follow him and do well for the team."
The chaps are joined again by captain of the CPFC mental health side Paul Richards to discuss the last two games, as the Eagles try to haul themselves out of the relegation zone.
They also preview the trip to Chelsea at the weekend as Palace try to continue their good form.
The pod team also answer your tweets and Facebook messages.
So join Jim Daly, Andy Street, Kevin Day and Paul Richards for 50 minutes of Palace chat!
And check out the podcast's lovely sponsors Vektor Printing!
Two wins in a week! What a week! Here's Mark Gardiner's thoughts after the 2-0 win over Cardiff.
Wow! A hard-working but not workmanlike display from Palace today emphasizing the work put in by Millen & then Pulis in the inside of the players’ heads. Attitude & commitment won the points today together with a generous dash of confidence. Cardiff were second-best – for the first 45 minutes they were pretty much third-rate and as poor in their own way as the hapless Hammers – and despite seeing more of the ball didn’t seem likely to claw their way back.
Pulis, to some surprise, elected to field the same XI as started on Tuesday, with mutterings about the continued worth of Puncheon & KG in particular counting for nothing, and lined up in the same 4-4-1-1 with Chamakh just behind Jerome, while Cardiff went for a 4-1-4-1.
How different the game could have been had Julian not made what from 120 yards away looked like a superb save to keep out Campbell’s far-post header. A goal then could have dealt a serious blow to the team’s self-confidence, let alone those of us on the sidelines. Yet Palace came forward and Jerome seemed to fluff two excellent chances, being unable to work an effort on goal when twice clear; as we were bemoaning his lack of finishing ability the much-maligned Puncheon did magnificent work in making space to put in a perfect cross, where Jerome redeemed himself with a firm header past Marshall. We had seen how a single goal restored Chamakh’s self-belief and the fans’ confidence on Tuesday; now Cameron had his first goal in 20+ appearances since his last.
Palace found the easiest way to create chances was to press deep on Cardiff’s defence as the latter tried to play the ball out from deep. This had been the cause of both Jerome’s early chances and continued to look likely to cost the Welshmen. Jerome & Chamakh hunted down Turner in particular, and for most of the first half Cardiff were reduced to long balls from the back aimed at the diminutive (by comparison) & isolated Campbell, a tactic that was meat & drink for Delaney & Gabbidon. They rarely threatened Julian’s goal before the interval.
Palace, on the other hand, looked ready to kill the game off. Jedinak & KG were both having fine games, and while Puncheon again faded comparatively after a bright start, Bannan was once again an outlet on either flank; Jerome caught the defence flat-footed more than once on through balls from Jedinak & KG. A reshuffle was enforced when Moxey departed early with an injury, with Mariappa coming in at right back and Ward switching to the left, where he was to have one of his best performances for the club. Bannan, KG & Puncheon all had shots wide, Jedinak put a header over, while Ward nearly waltzed straight down the middle only for his shot to be blocked.
Surely Cardiff couldn’t be as poor in the second half? They restarted at a high tempo and Palace were penned back for a short period. However they soon strangled Cardiff’s midfield once again and Julian was not called upon to make a save. Instead Palace pressed on looked the more likely to score again, a couple of chances being passed up before Chamakh seized upon a poor clearance and shot with a confidence reborn across Marshall and inside the far post. KG, Jerome, Delaney & Bannan all had chances to increase the lead, with one scramble having the Whitehorse Lane joyously celebrating a goal that wasn’t! Cardiff’s chances were rare; both Odemwingie & Mutch had free headers at close-range that they put over, and Julian’s one difficult moment was a save low down at his left-hand post. Once again Cardiff tried hard to work a more direct style, their midfield being held back by Palace’s hard work, but gained no return. In the end they were well beaten.
Speroni – 7 – Possibly the crucial moment when saving Campbell’s header; remember the deflating effect when Swansea scored at roughly the same time? Only had one more non-routine save in the second half, otherwise controlled his box well. A couple of dodgy kicks and some mis-communication with the defenders were not punished.
Ward – 8 – Didn’t see much action at right back apart from one good headed clearance under pressure, but played superbly when switched to the left. Perhaps this helped his two runs down the inside left channel that nearly created goals.
Moxey – 6 – Steady game with some surging runs down the left, but suffered an early strain or pull and was subbed in the first half.
Delaney – 8 – Another outstanding performance, ready to put his body on the line in a brave first-half block. Was given an easy ride by Cardiff’s attempts at a long-ball game but still did it professionally. Could have added a goal with a header over from a corner.
Gabbidon – 7 – Only a step behind Delaney in his showing, although there was one worrying moment when he went down in the second half holding his leg. (I’ve seen O’Keefe play full back & it wasn’t pretty, while Jedinak’s fill-in at centre back still makes me shudder.) Cardiff’s tactics played right into his hands.
Jedinak – 7 – Strong display with plenty of tackles and headers, and his passing accuracy was higher than it has been, perhaps helped by not facing a flat five-man opposition midfield.
Dikgacoi – 8 – Inspired by Nelson’s departure? A really strong showing from a player whose recent displays have paled in comparison. Strong in the tackle, KG also laid off some lovely passes, setting Jerome free on more than one occasion. Also threatened the goal with a couple of shots and a header.
Puncheon – 6 – As he has done recently started well, picking up the pieces of Jerome’s blown chance to beat his man and fashion a cross of the highest accuracy, then not long after snapping in a shot. But he does seem to drift out of games (isn’t that the way with Palace’s wingers?) then pop up with a deft touch, as he did in the second half. Worked hard too defensively. I may seem harsh his colleagues did more for longer.
Bannan – 8 – His crossing wasn’t as laser-guided accurate as it can be, but he had enough opportunities that a fair number were perfectly placed. His work ethic is also excellent, although his shooting needs a little polish, with one first-time volley from an acute angle that even a Suarez or Van Basten might have blanched at.
Chamakh – 8 – I’ve been on his case for his mixed displays where he will work hard one moment, then the next lay the ball off and wander around having done his bit for the move. Well, there was none of that today. Perhaps emboldened by his goal on Tuesday Marouane didn’t stop running all game, pressing & closing down Cardiff’s defence, never giving them a moment’s rest. His goal, a cross-shot from the left, was the finish of a man high on self-belief.
Jerome – 7 – Worked just as hard as Chamakh in the more advanced role, but lacked just that little bit of control or luck to really kill off the game. I thought his confidence would be rock-bottom after blowing the second of two early runs on goal, but in an instant was burying a header and in the following celebrations it looked like a weight had been removed from his shoulders. One bad moment when a long ball found him looking suspiciously offside, yet he decided too late to chase the ball when the linesman ruled he was onside – play the whistle!
Mariappa – 7 – Not a natural full back but Cardiff’s wide men were strangely subdued and bypassed for much of the game, so not really tested. Made one brave headed clearance where the boots were flying.
O’Keefe – 6 – Difficult to attune himself to the pace of the game when coming on as late substitute for Bannan & playing in a wide role.
Saturday December 7th, 2013. Kick-off 3pm. Selhurst Park, South London (and Proud!)
Buoyed by beating West Ham on Tuesday in Tony Pulis' first game in charge of the Eagles, Palace will go into their second 'six pointer' of the week full of confidence. A win against fellow promotion winner Cardiff and suddenly survival from relegation doesn't seem such a distant hope.
Pulis admitted this week he has no new injury worries and is expected to name the same team that faced West Ham.
Jonny Williams made his long awaited return from injury against the Hammers and could be pushing for a starting place but more likely will be on the bench again. Camerone Jerome looked to be hobbling at the end of the West Hame game but is fine.
Cardiff wait on left-back Andrew Taylor’s fitness, although young deputy Declan John performed admirably at Stoke and may retain his place. Otherwise, Mackay has a clean bill of health.
Eye on the opposition
By Jack Pierce
Stoke’s goalless draw at home to Cardiff provided the producers of Match of the Day with the easiest decision of their rather busy Wednesday night show this week. That was, without doubt, the worst game of the midweek programme and was shown last.
However, there was one thing about the game that did catch my eye. Cardiff wore blue, the colour they should and used to play in.I don’t any have a particular liking for Cardiff City as a football club and I hate Malky Mackay so it surprised me when I felt quite strongly after Vincent Tan, the Malay multi-millionaire Cardiff chairman, decided to completely re-brand the club including a change of shirt colour from blue to red.
The decision was made in order to improve Cardiff’s popularity in Asia and increase the club’s marketing potential. Tan’s logic behind the move was that in South East Asia, blue is a colour commonly associated with mourning while red is the colour attached to times of celebration. Might explain why we, as Palace fans, have such ups and downs watching a team wearing the sort of shirts they do.
If Cardiff were a club that had just been founded, then such thinking might be applauded; a clever approach to marketing in this global day and age. But Cardiff hadn’t just been founded; they’re a club with over a century of history to it. Even their nickname has become redundant because of the change. How can a team wearing red be called The Bluebirds?
Tan’s decision to change the colour most associated with the club might not have been that big a deal to him or the rest of the Malay group that had invested in the club but fans rightfully voiced their displeasure. Blue is a colour very much associated with the city of Cardiff and to remove such an integral part of a club’s identity because of marketing highlights the stark difference in thinking between the fan who goes week in, week out and the super rich foreign owner who are becoming a more common fixture in the domestic game as the seasons pass.
The more cynical amongst you will throw the fact that it has been Tan’s money that has propelled the club into the Premier League at me and inform me that football romantics like myself need to get over the significance of a club’s shirt colour. Perhaps a fair point but it does beg the question as to whether fans are willing to accept success at any cost. You only have to ask the fans of Blackburn Rovers about the Venkys or Portsmouth fans about the Gaydamaks if you want to hear about the perils of foreign ownership.
Anyway, to the small matter of this Saturday. Cardiff come to town off the back of a thumping at home to Arsenal last weekend and the bore draw at The Britannia on Wednesday night. They currently occupy 15th place but a Palace win on Saturday would put us within one point of the Welsh side.
Their beating of Manchester City back in August remains their season high point thus far although the drama of scoring an injury time equaliser against the red half of Manchester a few weeks ago was probably just as pleasing.
Cardiff’s summer transfer dealings were looked after by a man now very much part of the Palace setup. Iain Moody worked very closely with Mackay at Watford and followed him to Wales in 2011. It was Vincent Tan’s dismissal of Moody that enflamed speculation that Mackay’s role at the club had become untenable and would follow his Head of Recruitment out of the door, and possibly even to SE25. While the murmurings of Mackay to Palace can now be put to bed, his position remains in doubt and it is thought that Tan could sack Mackay if and when he fancies.
The Welsh side broke their transfer record three times in the summer. Andreas Cornelius was the first holder of the title, until Steven Caulker was bought in from Spurs who was then usurped by Gary Medel, the Chilean defensive midfielder signed from Sevilla for around £12 million. The latter two have slotted straight into Mackay’s first choice 11 this season. Medel, named after Gary Lineker, has been particularly impressive so far this season and furthermore has avoided any yellow cards despite the aggressive reputation that followed him from La Liga.
Cardiff have only scored two goals in their last six matches, both of which came in the 2-2 draw with United. Between Palace and Cardiff, only 19 goals have been scored in their combined 28 matches this season. For those going on Saturday expecting a repeat of last season’s dramatic Palace 3-2 win, you may well be disappointed but the aims of for both clubs has drastically changed in the 14 months since that fixture. Survival is now the sole aim for both clubs and after Tuesday night’s gutsy win against Fat Sam’s boys, those at Selhurst on Saturday should expect much of the same.
Here’s hoping The Eagles see off The Bluebi… I mean ‘Red Dragons’ and make two wins out of three, three wins out of four.
Provided by FootballFanCast.com
Crystal Palace’s three Barclays Premier League wins this season have all come under different managers.
This will be the first time Crystal Palace and Cardiff City have met in the top flight of English football.
The last three league meetings between Cardiff and Palace have seen the team who opened the scoring go on to lose the game.
Cardiff have won four and lost just two of their last seven league visits to Selhurst Park, but Palace have won two of the last three in south London.
Cardiff City have gone three hours without scoring a Premier League goal.
Palace; with eight goals, are the only team to score fewer than Cardiff this season (11) in the Premier League.
The south Londoners have taken seven points from their last four matches, two more than Manchester United (5).
Cardiff have failed to score in their last three away games but their last goal away from home came in London (Jordon Mutch at Stamford Bridge in mid-October).
Marouane Chamakh has scored two goals from three shots on target in the Premier League this season.
Cardiff have conceded fewer fouls than any other Premier League team this season (123), while Palace have a joint-low 15 yellow cards.
Another big home game but if Palace perform like they against West Ham a win is certainly within reach. We expect it to be another close one but will go got a slender Eagles 1-0 victory!
Marouane Chamakh took the opportunity to have a swipe at Sam Allardyce after scoring the winner against West Ham.
The Palace striker was on loan at the Hammers last season but was largely ignored by Allardyce, so revealed his delight in sinking his former club on Tuesday evening.
"When I was at West Ham there was a really good atmosphere and really good fans - I just had a problem with the manager," he told the Daily Mirror.
"He lied to me. I came and he said: 'You will play with Andy Carroll'. I played just three games and after that I did not play one more minute.
"So I think it was a good response from me on the pitch. I am really satisfied.
"Maybe you don't believe me but I swear I really don't care if I score or not," he added.
"The people outside look at goals and stats, but my pleasure on the pitch is to work for the team.
"And sometimes when I don't score, but I play a good game and we win, I am as happy as when I score two or three goals."
The vital win was Palace's third of the season, and Tony Pulis' first as Eagles boss, and Chamakh is confident of the future under the former Stoke boss.
"I didn't know [Tony] Pulis before he came here," he added.
"Of course I know him from Stoke but I didn't know his mentality, his job, so the feeling is good at the moment.
"Like for every manager, I give everything. I have changed my game for him. I am playing a little bit more like a midfielder than a striker but it is OK.
"We will do everything to stay up, I think we can be better.
"If you want to make some money, bet for Crystal Palace to stay in the Premier League."
Palace captain Mile Jedinak - who penned a new deal at the club this week - praised the Moroccan forward.
“Cham did really well for us,” he said to London 24. “He worked tirelessly and I’m really happy that he got his goal because it takes a bit of a burden off his back and hopefully he can build on that.
“We know what clubs he’s been at and the potential he has. He’s one who gives everything, that’s why we enjoy having him around.
“He didn’t say anything [about Allardyce] but if it was then fantastic because it got us the three points.
“He’s got that quality and he’s just got to keep going. Hopefully he can grab a few more goals for us.”
Woop! Marouane Chamakh's header secured Tony Pulis a win on his first home game as manager - a massive victory for the Eagles in the battle against relegation. Here's Mark Gardiner's thoughts.
Well, it wasn’t pretty, and for much of the first half BT must have been thinking about asking politely for a refund on grounds of quality control, but somehow Palace held out for a morale-boosting win. The atmosphere at Selhurst, strangely flat for much of the first half – bar the Fanatics’ corner – rose after Chamakh’s goal and helped drag the team over the finishing line. Two of the most pragmatic managers in English football were never going to produce a free-flowing epic but the tension and sheer “backs-to-the-wall” defending created its own brand of excitement & entertainment.
Pulis retained the same team and 4-4-1-1 formation from Norwich and, in the first half alone, this dictated a more direct style of play: direct, not long ball. When playing only four in midfield, unless you are graced with exceptional wingers or a creative central playmaker, you are forced into bypassing the middle as often as possible, especially when, as last night, the opposition packs five across the field. What these tactics do not dictate, and cannot be laid at the feet of the manager, is the atrocious standard of passing when the ball was kept on the ground. Too many times Palace presented the ball to West Ham; fortunately they either kept giving it straight back or putting it out of play, with Downing the chief offender.
The first half hour ranked amongst the worst I’ve seen at Selhurst. Jerome seldom got change out of Tomkins in the air, and when he did Chamakh and the two wingers were not close enough in support to build any attacking momentum. The only real chance came early on when Puncheon shot straight at Jaaskelainen. It was West Ham who, despite their own stodgy and inaccurate passing, who started to make chances. They had a fondness for crossing from the right to Carlton Cole beyond the far post to knock the ball back into the middle, and twice these almost reaped dividends, only a brave combined block by Delaney & Gabbidon, then a typical Downing lack of control preventing them taking the lead. Worse culprits were Diamé with a close-range header over the bar, then Nolan somehow limply chipped into Speroni’s hands when played in by a clever free kick.
For Palace, Bannan was having a good game, although spoiled by giving away possession a couple of times, but KG and Jedinak were more often guilty of the same, while Puncheon, as at Norwich, quickly faded after a reasonable start. With midfield malfunctioning, and Tomkins & Collins shackling the forwards, it was difficult to see how a breakthrough could be fashioned. Summing up the game, the goal was a mixture of error and a flash of technical excellence. Palace’s first corner was played low at the near post, perhaps as planned, but not well executed by Bannan as Ward struggled to play the ball back to the Scot; the second cross was excellent, and, as against Everton, Chamakh was presented with a free header about 8 yards out; he should have buried it but failed to gain a solid connection, the ball sliding off at an angle deceiving Jaaskelainen and fortunately slipping between two defenders on the line. The confidence that gave Marouane was evident from a little flick he carried out perfectly a minute or so later, but the real test was whether Palace could hold onto the lead until half-time, where we so miserably failed against Fulham. That we did weather a brief Hammers’ flurry gave everyone a lift.
The game had to improve in the second half, especially with West Ham having to show a bit more attacking intent, and it did. In fact the first 10 minutes were too perhaps too open for Palace fans as the game was stretched, and somehow Palace contrived to throw away three golden opportunities to make the match safe. First Chamakh and Jerome made openings for themselves that they were unable to seize, and Puncheon’s follow-up was on target but deflected inches wide (onto the post) by a defender. From the resulting corner Bannan was again on target, but KG’s header was too high from a good position. Then Jerome broke clear but failed to beat the keeper, a sign of a striker who hasn’t scored for over 20 games.
Would we regret blowing those opportunities? Palace tightened up, with the defence showing a solidity that was built by Millen & reinforced by Pulis. Although Morrison always looked a danger when on the ball he actually created very little, while Diamé was wasted out on the left. One potential danger was Downing, who was continually shown inside by Moxey, despite the fact that the winger is left-footed; fortunately the ex-England man had an awful night, and the number of misplaced passes towards the overlapping O’Brien summed up West Ham’s shambolic play. So well did the defence stand up – aided by Jedinak & KG, and later O’Keefe – that Julian was strangely underemployed, his own good save being low down to his left as a Downing free kick beat the wall. He was beaten by O’Brien but the whistle had already gone for some shirt-pulling at the far post. With the extra space behind West Ham as they pushed forward Palace looked dangerous on the break, with one disallowed effort them selves, a shot by KG that was aimed straight at Jaaskelainen, and at the end sub Kébé fashioned a good opportunity for himself only for his shot to loop over. West Ham ended up playing real long ball stuff up to Collins but were caught offside often enough to break their rhythm, and the final whistle was seen out anxiously but safely, to be followed by a brief contretemps involving Moxey, Ward, Tomkins and Morrison, the last-named being lucky to see yellow & not red for a hand to Ward’s face.
Speroni – 6 – Solid enough, not required to do anything spectacular, although his save from Downing’s free kick was more difficult than it appeared. Perhaps sums up West Ham’s lack of a proper striker when his biggest problem of the night was an unattached goal-net.
Ward – 7 – Made some crucial interceptions in both halves; at times found Diamé difficult to handle but stuck to his task, as well as some clearing headers. Made a couple of good runs forward.
Moxey – 6 – Note sure why he kept showing Downing inside onto his good foot, but assume in must have been under instructions. Made a couple of dangerous breaks in both halves, only to be caught out of position & stranded upfield when invariably we lost the ball. Kept running and again showed his tenacity with important clearances as the game closed.
Delaney – 8 – Some brave blocks and had a real battle with Cole (Carlton) but led the rearguard fantastically well.
Gabbidon – 7 – Solid performance with one mazy attacking run in the first half. Also put his body on the line to keep a clean sheet.
Jedinak – 6 – Won enough challenges & headers but then on numerous occasions almost immediately gave the ball away carelessly, perhaps explaining why he had to work so hard. Noticeable that in the first hour played about 10-20 yards further up the pitch than under previous regimes, rarely dropping deep to pick up the ball from the defence. Spent the last 30 minutes in more familiar territory guarding the zone in front of our penalty area.
Dikgacoi – 5 – Defended well but his passing was even more awry than usual, and missed one great chance from a Bannan cross.
Bannan – 7 – First half saw some nice touches but also a couple of woefully-misplaced passes in keeping with the game. Produced two perfect crosses for Chamakh’s goal and KG’s miss. Kept running all game and summed up by virtually his last contribution when, covering a swift break from our corner, he interposed himself between the ball and their attacker for about 30 yards to block access to Julian. Surprised he was withdrawn. I thought his was a strange substitution when he still looked to have mileage in his short legs, and had proven his use defensively.
Puncheon – 5 – Very similar to Norwich in that he started okay and had Palace’s first effort on goal, but then faded badly and was one of those unable to keep possession. Strange to say he nearly scored straight at the start of the second half with an excellent shot deflected just off-target.
Chamakh – 6 – Worked very hard but still doesn’t look to be a player who will score many goals, despite last night’s effort. Even that looked as though he had mis-timed his header, going across goal when the easiest and most open route was to thump it straight down. Worked even harder in the second half.
Jerome – 5 – Didn’t enjoy much success in the air against Tomkins, but occasionally embarrassed the defender on the ground with his muscular athleticism, and should really have scored at least once, if not twice, early in the second half. Cannot knock his work-rate but occasional inspiration will be needed as well as perspiration.
Kébé – 6 –. Decent replacement for Puncheon, although perhaps lacking the Jason’s little piece of defensive fortitude, Jimmy had a decent spell, creating a couple of half-chances for others before blowing one he made all for himself.
O’Keefe – 6 – A late substitution to stiffen midfield, which he did well enough.
Williams – 5 – A switch to a five-man midfield, Jonny had one short run but that was the limit of his real involvement.
After claiming his first win at Palace in hie debut home match, Tony Pulis claimed the Eagles fans are key to the team's survival.
Marouane Chamakh nodded in the game's only goal against West Ham to secure Palace's third win of the season, and after the match Pulis praised his team...and fans.
He said: “It’s a great result tonight and what we have to do is obviously win games and put points on the board to give everybody hope.
“The supporters were wonderful tonight, but you have to win these games to give them the opportunity and the chance to do what I’ve come here to do, which is keep the club up.
“If you win games, you give them hope and the more hope you give them, the more they’ll back the team.
“They all have to buy into what we need and that is when teams come to Palace, it’s got to be a fortress.”
He added: “The players have been fantastic. The attitude of the players and the commitment of the players has been absolutely wonderful from the first minute I walked in.
“We will need to strengthen the side. We need to bring a bit more quality into it and I think they will be absolutely delighted if we can do that. Obviously we have to do that within what the club can afford. But we need to stay in the race before the window opens.
“The resilience and the commitment was there. We had good organisation, we’ve worked really hard on trying to fill spaces and keep people in front and I thought we did that tonight very well at times.”
Tuesday December 3rd, 2013. Kick-off 7.45pm. Selhurst Park, South London (and Proud!)
Tony Pulis takes charge of his first home game as Palace manager as West Ham travel to Selhurst in a game that' bigger than Kevin Nolan's forehead. The Eagles are three points from safety whereas the Hammers are three points above the drop but a home win would be timely and massive for both Palace and Pulis. Sam Allardyce's team have only won once one the road this season - although it was a bit of a shocker in a 3-0 win at Tottenham
Pulis has no fresh injury concerns but Jerome Thomas could be included after missing the trip to Norwich through injury.
Yannick Bolasie served the second game of his three match ban for a red card at Hull.
West Ham striker Carlton Cole is pushing for his first start of the season after scoring at the weekend.
Andy Carroll (heel), Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) and Razvan Rat (hamstring) remain out while Ravel Morrison is also in line for a recall.
Eye on the opposition
By Jack Pierce
"I'm not suited to Bolton or Blackburn; I would be more suited to Inter or Real Madrid. It wouldn't be a problem to me to go and manage those clubs because I would win the double or the league every time. Give me Manchester United or Chelsea and I would do the same, it wouldn't be a problem.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sam Allardyce.
The above quote was from an interview he gave in 2010. Admittedly, the quote is now three years old but perfectly encapsulates the man. He’s not a man with an ego; his ego has an entity and passport all of its own.
There’s no denying the very good job he did at Bolton Wanderers. His taste for picking up veteran free agents proved an astute move in a time that Premier League transfer fees were skyrocketing. Youri Djorkaeff, Fernando Hierro, Ivan Campo and perhaps most memorably, Jay-Jay Okocha lit up The Reebok during the early 2000s. Ironically, Allardyce decided to leave Bolton at the end of the 2006/07 season, the season in which the club achieved its highest Premier League finish and qualification for the following season’s Uefa Cup.
A dreadful spell as Newcastle boss and a steadying of the ship job at Blackburn followed and after a period of six months in the managerial wilderness after being sacked by The Venkys, West Ham came calling and asked him to get the club back into the Premier League following relegation.
He succeeded first time around following the sweet taste of Play-off Final victory against Ian Holloway’s Blackpool but did spend rather extravagantly in order to do so. Kevin Nolan was put on £50k a week and John Carew was awarded a very kind one-year contract too. However, David Gold, David Sullivan and Lord’s Sugar’s spy, Karen Brady won’t have minded what money was spent as the sole ambition of an immediate return to the Premier League was achieved.
West Ham ended last season in 10th place – quite the achievement, particularly when you consider they didn’t add too much to the team that had been promoted the season before. Their headline deals saw Matt Jarvis purchased from Wolves, for what has turned out to be an expensive £10.75 million while Andy Carroll and Joe Cole (in January) were rescued from tormenting spells at Anfield. Carroll was signed on a permanent basis this summer but hasn’t kicked a ball since Liverpool received £15 million for the Geordie.
It has been the absence of Carroll that explains The Hammers’ struggles thus far this season. The 4-6-0 formation, which is often exhibited in La Liga when a team’s monopoly of possession allows them the luxury of creating scoring opportunities without a front man, has been Allardyce’s preferred approach in the absence of Carroll. Its first outing came at White Hart Lane and in fairness, it worked. They put three past Spurs and ‘Big Sam’ was being lauded for his tactical vision and adapting his team to play without a main striker. Well, prior to Saturday’s match against Fulham, West Ham had scored two goals in five matches after that result at Spurs and any praise that had been put Allardyce’s way had become a distant memory. Instead, a torrent of questions as to why it hadn’t been deemed necessary to purchase a half-decent striker in the absence of Carroll were being asked with good reason. Malian, Modibo Maïga seems to carry the potency of our own, beloved Marouane Chamakh and West Ham had to, rather embarrassingly, re-sign Carlton Cole despite releasing the striker only months before.
Star of their season so far has been ‘reformed character’, Ravel Morrison. The former Manchester United youth player is not a shy; not even Sir Alex could tame the youngster and felt shipping the lad out of Old Trafford would benefit all parties involved. West Ham and Allardyce took a chance on the player and after a successful loan spell at Birmingham last season, including an outstanding performance at Selhurst in March, Morrison, or ‘Ravel as his shirt states, has provided fleeting moments of brilliance in the opening months of the season – including a superb solo goal in their win against Spurs.
They got the better of Fulham on Saturday, a fixture that was deemed must win. Martin Jol lost his Fulham job off the back of it, though I doubt Allardyce would have been given the heave-ho if the result hadn’t gone the way it had. The board must accept that an immediate return to the Premier League and a 10th place finish last season is pretty good going. They may well remain at the wrong end of the table for much of the season but with Carroll anticipated to return to the first team by Christmas, their team will have the goal threat that they lack and an upturn in results should occur.
It doesn’t need to be pointed out that this is the sort of fixture that Palace MUST win if survival is to become a realistic aim. Even after their win on Saturday, a Palace win would put us back in touch with West Ham and give us a boost before another massively important home match against Cardiff on Saturday.
Should we win on Tuesday night, how might Sam Allardyce react?
You’d imagine he’d find solace in the fact that the sort of club he’d be more ‘suited to’ would probably beat Palace.
When will the hierarchies at The Bernabéu or the San Siro see the error in their ways and give Sam the call?!
Stats provided by FootballFanCast.com
Crystal Palace have won just four of 24 Barclays Premier League London derbies on home soil (L12 D8).
West Ham have won just two of their last 20 Barclays Premier League away games (W2 D6 L12).
Jerome Thomas has scored three goals in four Barclay Premier League appearances against West Ham – against no side has he scored more often.
Palace have failed to score in three of their last four Premier League games at Selhurst Park, netting just once in the other game within this run.
The Hammers have failed to score in five of their last seven Premier League away matches, but have kept four clean sheets in the last six.
This is Crystal Palace’s worst points tally (7) after 13 games of a Premier League season and they have been relegated in all of the previous four top flight campaigns.
The Eagles have won just one of their last 10 Premier League games, losing eight in that run.
Palace have scored just three goals in their last 10 Premier League matches, despite attempting 67 shots at goal (excl. blocked) in these games.
West Ham have won just two of their last 12 Premier League matches (W2 D4 L6), but both have come against London teams.
In the Hammers’ last seven Premier League games they have kept four clean sheets, but in the other three games they conceded three on each occasion.
Palace looked fairly decent up at Norwich despite losing 1-0 and showed plenty of intent. At a packed out Selhurst if they show the same sort of positivity they could - and should - get a home win. TP will be desperate to get off to a good start as Eagles boss and other cliches. Basically, Palace have a decent chance to win...and should win. Screw it, let's go for a 2-0 home win!