Crystal Palace enjoyed their third consecutive away victory in the Premier League when they beat West Ham 3-1 at Upton Park on Saturday and have been in fine form since Alan Pardew took over as manager at the beginning of January this year.
The Eagles travel to Southampton tonight and a positive result at St Mary’s would certainly leave Palace pondering over the possibility of achieving the best Premier League finish in the history of the club.
Considering last year’s unbelievable turnaround under manager Tony Pulis, many would have predicted that Crystal Palace would struggle this season after he walked out just days before the first game of the campaign.
When Pulis quit, Keith Millen briefly took over before reverting back to assistant manager when Neil Warnock was appointed. Warnock struggled for results, picking up just three wins from the 16 games that he was in charge and was consequently shown the door, which made way for Alan Pardew’s arrival from Newcastle.
Pardew has been an instant hit both with the players and the fans and has been welcomed with open arms as many can probably still recall his playing days for the South London side in the late 1980’s through to the early 1990’s.
He has re-instilled belief and positivity at Selhurst Park, and generally brought a feel good factor back in to the Holmesdale air.
The 2013/14 season was the club’s best ever Premier League finish, but breaking down the numbers of Crystal Palace’s form under Alan Pardew shows there is a real chance that the red and blue army can make history for the second year running.
Palace eventually managed to survive relegation comfortably last season and in doing so, consecutively maintained their Premier League status for the first time since its inception. They had never avoided the drop when competing in the Premier League and they now look set to further establish themselves in England’s top division.
If Pardew ensures Crystal Palace continue to pick up points at the same rate they have done since he took over, then they will amass 50 points come the end of the season – five points more than they did in last year’s record-breaking campaign.
It’s certainly a big ask to maintain such consistent form, but it isn’t out of the question and Palace fans may be pinching themselves at how well the team are performing.
You only have to cast your mind back to May 2010 and this was a club not only struggling in the Championship but also on the verge of extinction due to extreme financial issues. A 2-2 draw away at Sheffield Wednesday on the final day of the season that year under the management of Paul Hart almost certainly saved Crystal Palace from going under.
Palace were in administration at the time and demotion to League One would’ve had a huge financial impact that they may not have been able to recover from. They battled through some bleak times with incredible spirit and determination and it’s been onwards and upwards since then.
Recognition and credit must be given not only to Pardew for the most recent turnaround, but also to everyone involved with the club over the last five years.
Can Crystal Palace record their best ever Premier League season this year?