Crystal Palace are finally starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel as they are no longer bottom of the Premier League table. For the first time since the season started they are no longer the club that occupies the 20th rung on the ladder.
And this afternoon they will look to progress further up the table when they play host to Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth. In a week where Palace have announced to bring Selhurst Park up to date in terms of modernisation, those plans will only be worthwhile if the South London outfit continue to be a top flight entity.
Ultimately it will be results that define whether or not they go on to build a white elephant and with five points from a possible nine they are certainly doing the right things. One of those is tightening up at the back, the Eagles have only conceded one goal in that same three game spell.
Two fixtures on the road have seen them fail to score but at the same time they have still managed to pick up points away from Selhurst Park, that being thanks to a watertight defence that has managed to shut out both Brighton and West Brom while on their travels.
The lack of goals is still a pertinent issue with eight from their first 15 matches of the season, a tally they share with Swansea as they lowest goalscorers in the division but if they aren’t conceding goals then at least they aren’t losing matches and that is what is assisting them up the table right now.
It would have to take quite the goal swing for Palace to move out of the bottom three should results go their way today, but even if they do win and stay 18th it will certainly put the pressure on the group of teams above them and one those clubs are today’s opponents Bournemouth.
Eddie Howe’s men had to make do with sharing local bragging rights with Southampton last Sunday as Charlie Austin’s goal meant the South Coast derby between the two clubs would end with honours even and the Cherries moving up to 14th in the table.
They are currently in the position where they would like to be looking up the table but have to be mindful of what is over their shoulder. A win today would certainly give them more breathing space although they have only picked up two points from a possible nine.
That run of results comes after successive wins revitalised their season which had got off to a slow start, you could perhaps accuse Bournemouth of resting on their laurels after that comfortable 4-0 win over Huddersfield three weeks ago.
Since then they have failed to win and at the same time have not come up against the trickiest of opposition either, the fact that after beating Huddersfield so comfortably and then following it up with a goalless stalemate at Swansea a week later speaks volumes.
However the pack of teams from 9th to 16th is congested in terms of points and Eddie Howe’s men could move up into the top half of the table should they manage to earn a win at Selhurst Park. It only takes a couple of wins or losses in succession to change the complexion of the Premier League.
That is something that Crystal Palace will be fully aware of and with their home form being the bedrock of their improved performances they will look to build on that even further this afternoon, so much so that I think they will come out on top later today. Eagles soaring later on in my opinion.
Here is what social media thinks will happen – you can still vote on the outcome
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) December 8, 2017