Slowly but surely, Crystal Palace are starting to look like better bets to stay in the Premier League.
Of course, their 4-1 battering at the hands of Tottenham on Sunday evening provided evidence to the contrary but a period of three unbeaten games before that must have pleased Roy Hodgson.
The Eagles have been incredibly inconsistent this season and that shone through in north London over the weekend. Spurs haven’t been particularly swashbuckling in recent months but the effervescent trio of Harry Kane, Heung-min Son and Gareth Bale all ran riot on Sunday.
How Hodgson would love for three players of their quality. Bale looks back to his best and in the process of scoring twice, was a lively energetic threat.
The same cannot be said for Palace’s right-hand side where Andros Townsend severely disappointed. The winger began his career at Spurs where he played for 16 years, starting out as a young schoolboy to becoming a senior professional.
Yet, on Sunday evening, he showed exactly why he never made a name for himself at the very top of the game.
Townsend was devoid of much quality and very rarely had a chance to threaten the Spurs backline. Of course, there are better litmus tests for this Eagles attack but the 29-year-old did little to try and haunt his former employers.
He was hauled off after just 65 minutes having had a minimal impact on proceedings. Townsend touched the ball on just 40 occasions which was the lowest tally of any outfield Palace player to start the match.
On top of that, the winger made only 13 passes during his time on the field. That was fewer than goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and only more than Hodgson’s three substitutes; Wilfried Zaha, Jeffrey Schlupp and Jean-Philippe Mateta.
Townsend clearly isn’t as creative and hustling as he once was. The attacker managed a solitary key pass and when faced with the likes of Sergio Reguilon and Son in the channels, he often came out second best; winning just 37.5% of his defensive duels.
The fact that Hodgson took him off so early into the game spoke volumes, especially when it was the defence who were being given the biggest runaround.
Townsend did his best to inject a slice of energy into proceedings, and as he always proves, he was willing to work hard for the team. Yet, the forward’s end product was ultimately missing.
With Zaha now back from injury, the former England international better be wary. His place in the team could soon be under threat.