EAGLES columnist SAM ROSS is growing increasingly confident of securing at least a play-off spot after Crystal Palace’s impressive recent haul of 10 points from the last 12.
IAN Holloway’s attacking style is not only great and exciting to watch but also match-winning, as the latest victory against Bristol City proved. I had never been so confident ahead of a Palace game as I was when I travelled to Selhurst for last night’s game.
But had it not been for Holloway’s gung-ho approach to push for more goals, City would have snatched a late point after Jonathan Parr woefully headed into his own net.
At 1-0 up Holloway wasn’t content with holding onto the lead and wanted a two-goal cushion, so brought on Kevin Phillips and Stephen Dobbie on the hour mark.
The move paid off instantly as Dobbie slotted a delightful free-kick into the top corner just four minutes after coming on.
Some fans may think it’s risky constantly going full out on the attack, as it leaves you vulnerable to a break.
I don’t find that a problem at all and would much rather see Palace push on when ahead rather than sit back and defend a lead.
That is more of a risk because you allow the opposition to come on to you. The two wins against Middlesbrough and Bristol City have both been dominant displays, but the goals Palace have conceded in each have been poor and a down to a complete lapse in concentration.
But providing Palace are scoring more goals than they let in, however annoying it is, that doesn’t really matter to Holloway.
And as a paying punter, I am more than happy with that.
Kevin Phillips is certainly a fan of the style Holloway plays and why wouldn’t he be as a striker?
The 39-year-old is not just adding to the Palace squad with his own ability and quality, but also making Glenn Murray raise his game.
Murray finally has someone in Phillips who can threaten his position in the team and while that is not in any danger at the minute, it will crucially keep the country’s current top scorer on his toes right until the very end of the season.
It is also clear over the last two games there is now real competition for places in midfield, with Holloway still seemingly unsure what his best attacking line-up is between Jonathan Williams, Yannick Bolasie and Stephen Dobbie.
Zaha appears a consistent starter in Holloway’s eyes but even he may need to watch his back with the performances of Williams, Bolasie and Dobbie improving game-by-game, which Zaha’s is not.
Williams certainly seems to be overtaken the role as the fans favourite since Zaha’s transfer deal to Manchester United.
The young Welshman’s name rang around Selhurst on Saturday as he impressed in front of his national manager Chris Coleman before starring in the first half again last night.
One thing’s for sure, Palace’s squad is looking extremely strong right now and with Mile Jedinak back steering the ship, the Eagles are in pole position for at least a play-off place.
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