All of the time: That Stoke isn’t funny anymore

Welcome back: Aaron Wilbraham was back in the action in the win over Stoke City on Saturday                 SP81758

Welcome back: Aaron Wilbraham was back in the action in the win over Stoke City on Saturday SP81758

First published in Sport
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Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

Palace are out of the relegation zone! For now...

Nevertheless, if you had to predict Palace under Tony Pulis verses Mark Hughes’ transformed-but-not-really-transformed Stoke, the game lived up to expectations pretty accurately.

It was a fairly uninspiring 90 minutes, littered with mistakes and attacks breaking down.

Thankfully the defining mistake was committed by the Stoke defence which allowed Adrian Mariappa and Jason Puncheon to somehow generate a chance from very little, which was gratefully stabbed home by the Saints loanee - achieving some level of exoneration for his penalty mishap at White Hart Lane.

Tactically, once again our shape was robust, solid and organised although we lay deep with one up top as if we were the away side which was frustrating in the first half – but vindicated by the final score.

Our depth wasn't helped by Marouane Chamakh leading the line.

Croydon Guardian:

Marouane Chamakh: More suited to a attacking midfielder role?

I've argued earlier in the season that the Moroccan needs to be reclassified as an attacking midfielder because of how brilliantly he's been flourishing in a number 10 role (our Francesco Totti if you will), rather than an out an out striker.

Yet without Cameron Jerome we resorted to Chamakh up top, who struggled to push the side forward to the same extent.

So far in January almost every single other club in the bottom half of the table has made at least two new recruits to their squad, while Palace welcomed back Aaron Wilbraham to the bench on Saturday...

Well, Wilbrahimovic actually played well in his cameo, just as his did at times last season.

But we really need to bolster that position because a single absence forces a much more blunt-looking attack. Even if Jerome is hardly Radamel Falcao to begin with.

Hurry back, Glenn. We need you.

Another talking point on Saturday was the huge amount of added stewards and security in the Lower Holmesdale.

Automatically, you hear increased authority like this compared to suffering under the Gestapo or some other hyperbole.

In fact, the language and vitriol I heard directed at these stewards was pretty ridiculous to be honest; they didn't try to force us to sit and still received the type of verbal abuse usually reserved for Brighton's goalkeeper or Joey Barton.

If they'd been telling us to sit down all game, as is an escalating point of contention, then I would have agreed with the uproar.

But the additional security were simply checking that each ticket holder was sat in their correct seat.

And as a result, for the first time this season, I wasn't cosily sharing my standing space with a bloke who wasn't supposed to be there. Which was nice.

I also enjoyed the "stand in the rain, stand in the sun, we’re south London’s number one" chant – to the tune of "I Fought the Law" – getting what I believe to be its debut airing at Selhurst.

I've seen people complaining online that it's weak and cringe-worthy, but I'm a big fan.

It’s not a classic, but I really, really, really hope it displaces the "you are my Palace, my only Palace" chant which makes me shudder at every rendition.

It's like a vocal version of the ghastly #cpfcfamily Twitter hashtag which plagued us for a while.

But that’s enough nit-picking and moaning. I’m not sure why I feel the need to complain about a chant or a hashtag; we’re 16th, three points off 11th, still in the FA Cup and facing fellow relegation candidates Hull at home next in the league.

Europe here we come!

Croydon Guardian:

Take that: Jason Puncheon enjoys his winner against Stoke City

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