After such a good start, the big mistake Alan Pardew is guilty of at Palace

At the start of last season, after run of defeats, it looked highly likely that Crystal Palace would be facing a real struggle to maintain their Premier League status and faced the threat of being relegated to The Championship.

However, the introduction of Alan Pardew as the Selhurst Park club’s new manager halfway through the 2014-15 campaign has completely reinvigorated the team’s fortunes, with no such suggestion of potential relegation this time round.

Under the former Newcastle manager the Eagles have been ambitious in the transfer market and have adopted a new impressive brand of attacking football.

This season the London club have beaten reigning Premier League champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and look like one of the most dangerous counter-attacking sides in the division, due to the penetration of sprightly forwards Jason Puncheon, Bakary Sako, Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha.

However, despite the use of pace and width making Palace a much more able team on the front foot, there is still one mistake that Pardew is guilty of making.

The lack of a tried-and-tested number nine has robbed the Selhurst Park outfit of a clinical edge in the penalty box, with plenty of players that can provide penetration in the final third but no proven finisher to convert the chances.

Bolasie has been used as the furthest man forward on occasion in an attempt to accommodate all of the side’s attacking midfield threats, but there is little doubt that the gifted African is better in a deeper role.

Connor Wickham and Dwight Gayle have also been given their opportunity to play as the side’s solitary striker, while Frazier Campbell is also in the mix for a starting berth.

Pardew and Palace do have a striker available that has all the attributes to score consistently in the Premier League, but he has not been given a fair crack of the whip as yet this term.

Patrick Bamford is widely acknowledged as one of the most promising young English strikers in the reckoning currently and this season was supposed to be his breakthrough campaign after impressing elsewhere.

The Chelsea loanee has only played 16 minutes of top-flight action at Selhurt Park so far though, with two short substitute appearances all he has to show for his time at Palace so far. The 22-year-old has proven that he can be a lethal centre forward in the Football League, with successful temporary stints at Milton Keynes Dons, Derby County and Middlesbrough.

For Palace, although Bamford may well not be as mobile as some of the players that have been handed a start in his place this season, the ex-Nottingham Forest youngster could well be the player that the team needs.

The Grantham-born man is able to hold the ball up and bring others into play, while having the likes of Zaha, Bolasie, Puncheon and Sako providing him with top-notch service would surely be a winning option for the London team.

This also would not rob the side of its trademark fast and furious attacking play and would add a centre forward able to convert chances on a regular basis.

 


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