If Swansea vs Sunderland is a definite ‘6 pointer’ than perhaps this a ‘4 pointer’ whether or not that is actually a term in footballing parlance I’m not too sure. But the point I’m trying to make is that it’s not quite as high stakes as events at The Liberty Stadium but there is still an element of importance as Hull play host to Crystal Palace this afternoon.
With just 3 points separating Crystal Palace in 13th and Hull in 19th there is no respite in that bottom section of the table and as managers of any of the bottom eight sides will attest it only takes a couple of negative results and the pressure begins to mount evermore.
And doesn’t Alan Pardew know about pressure after 6 straight defeats including that freak defeat to Swansea many felt that he was only one more defeat away from the sack. Thankfully for Pardew he has managed to buy himself some time after Palace recorded their first win in 7 last Saturday.
That win at Selhurst Park came at the hands of Claude Puel’s Southampton. The Eagles ran out 3-0 winners and although there was a huge slice of luck to Christian Benteke’s opener you would have to say that Palace were good value for their all important victory.
It was very much a dogged performance from Palace last weekend, almost as if that 5-4 defeat to Swansea was their nadir and both manager and players said to themselves that things cannot got any worse than this. Pardew’s men were prepared to roll up their sleeves and do the dirty work against Southampton and they were handsomely rewarded for their efforts.
They travel to a Hull side who failed in their bid to exit the bottom three on Monday after defeat away at Middlesbrough. Once again an apparent lack of firepower was Hull’s undoing as they again failed to find the net, Mike Phelan’s side have scored just 11 times this season. Which gives them the unwanted stat of being the league’s lowest scorers.
In fairness Monday’s encounter with Middlesbrough was devoid of any real quality and it’s quality that The Tigers lack throughout their squad. Some of that is down to the fact that they have had injuries to key players which is obviously unfortunate but after that impressive start to the campaign the threadbare squad is now being exposed for all to see.
Mike Phelan has to be backed in the January transfer window there is no question of that. You could almost make the case for half a dozen new signings that need to be made if the Humberside outfit are to have any chance of staying up this season.
And a forward will certainly be top of the shopping list. With injuries to Will Keane and Abel Hernandez they are incredibly light up top while suspension for Diermerci Mbokani has only made those matters worse as they once again go into today’s game with a lack of forward personnel.
That lack of firepower will play to into Palace’s hands and give them the edge this afternoon. It might not be a pretty encounter at The KCom Stadium but I think Alan Pardew’s side will have enough to record back to back wins and pull them further away from the drop zone. An away win for me.