Woosie's Words: Premier League has brought apathy to Crystal Palace fans at Selhurt Park
Apathy. An emotive word, but one which seems to describe the attitude towards the Premier League from sections of the Palace support.
This isn’t a result of Palace’s poor performances and results, but merely a disillusionment with the high ticket prices, changes in kick off times and attitudes of some in the media towards the club.
Of course, it’s nothing that is particularly new, but the Premier League just isn’t anywhere near as exciting as the Championship was.
I’ll happily take the £120m and wave goodbye to this league in order to build a side that is comfortable challenging for at least a mid-table spot in years to come.
Clearly it isn't that simple, and Palace will be looking to retain their Premier League status, but to do so they must make changes, and do so quickly. The entire club is learning about the league and what it takes to compete, but that cannot be used as an excuse for negative, defensive football.
Where is the excitement in losing games without having a shot on target? Many were quick to criticise Dougie Freedman’s tactics in the Championship when he deployed two defensive midfielders, sat back and soaked up pressure, sometimes sitting on a one goal lead only to be hit with a sucker punch late on.
People became bored of the football and when results were not going well they called for Freedman’s head.
This season is different, with Ian Holloway in charge of a Palace side competing in the Premier League but the same issues are there.
It appears that the Bristolian has become too cautious, having been lambasted for his gung-ho approach at Blackpool. Holloway is looking to find the right balance, but the signings of 15 players have unsettled the squad’s equilibrium.
It is important that the manager is given time to assess the squad and work out which tactics work against which teams. Some of the performances have been good in parts, but the side have let themselves down with simple errors which would cause moans and groans on a Sunday league pitch.
Against Manchester United, Palace held their own until the controversial penalty awarded to Ashley Young. Their second half defensive performance was excellent, but the attack lacked any ingenuity, there was no spark.
That has been the problem for the Eagles this season. The forwards have had little service, struggling to get any shots on goal and therefore having little opportunity to find the back of the net and win matches.
Yannick Bolasie may return on Saturday to inject more pace and trickery on the wing, whilst Jimmy Kebe’s driving runs may also provide a threat. If Palace push higher up the pitch, then they risk conceding, but given that there has been little threat of troubling the score sheet of late, it is a risk they must take.
Ian Holloway knows that his side must improve, and he has shown in the past that as a manager he can adapt his tactics to different matches, which was particularly evident during the play-offs; but that was with a close knit team high on confidence, not a team full of strangers low on confidence.
He must motivate his players, as well as selecting the appropriate personnel for the tactics he intends to employ.
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