Crystal Palace fans have faced a mixture of ups and downs this season. The ups have been an FA Cup semi-final tie against Watford, with the chance to play at Wembley if not once, then twice. But their league form has dipped under Alan Pardew, with them not winning in the league since mid-December.
However, their dip in form coincided with an injury to one of their key players this season – Yannick Bolasie. Since Pardew’s arrival, Bolasie has been taken under become one of Palace’s key players.
Being a fan favourite, he was severely missed when he injured his calf, and the rest of the team seemed to miss the buzz and energy that Bolasie provides within the squad. Players like Yohan Cabaye no longer provided the early season form that had pushed Palace to top four candidates before Christmas.
The likes of Wilfried Zaha, Bakary Sako and new signing Emmanuel Adebayor struggled to replicate the Palace style that had taken their own fans and neutral fans’ breaths away. For many, Palace are the team you secretly admire, and when they started to slide down the table, many worried for their safety.
But with Bolasie back, the Eagles could soon be soaring again. In their recent FA Cup match v Reading, all the good play came through the man from Congo. Palace had that spark back, and really should have got their goals a lot earlier than they did, if the rest of the team had taken the chances that were created by Bolasie.
Fans will be hoping that the player can add to the four goals and two assists in the 19 games he has played so far, wondering how many more he could have got this season had he been fit. With only nine games of the season to go, they will be hoping Bolasie can help motivate the team to a mid table finish.
Games against Leicester, West Ham, Arsenal and Manchester United will be extremely hard to win, but the matches against Norwich, Newcastle, Southampton and Stoke could prove to be exciting match ups. Considering how inconsistent the league has been this season, there is no reason why the Eagles and Bolasie cannot get some key wins.
Should Bolasie continue to fire Palace to glory, there is no reason why he cannot get a move to a bigger club. As a winger, he can provide as well as score, and his skills and speed make it hard for an opponent to stop him. Last July Yannick was linked with Tottenham, as well as Liverpool, and if he continues to play well, it could happen.
In their FA Cup run, Palace have ignored the poor league form and made it all the way to the semi final, and they will be hoping that Bolasie’s input can push them even further.
If he does help fire Palace to the final, fans should be worried about losing this talented winger.