The Eagles were once flying high, but now their wings have been clipped and they currently find themselves at the wrong end of the table.
Lying 16th and only seven points clear of safety, Palace are looking a little precarious in the league right now. Strangely enough though, their cup form has been extremely strong and on their way to the FA Cup semi finals the Londoners have knocked out some tough teams, most notably, Tottenham.
Their success in the cup could be a reason why the league form has been so awful since 2016 kicked in, but is it really an excuse?
The biggest problem with Palace has been the lack of goals. Yohan Cabaye is the leading scorer with just six, while Connor Wickham has only five. That’s the main problem. The addition of Emmanuel Adebayor was always going to be hit or miss, and at the moment the Togolese veteran has been very much a miss.
With eight games left to play, you really would think that Palace would avoid relegation, but in this current form and with Norwich edging nearer, the club will be looking back nervously.
Pardew knew Palace co-chairman, Steve Parish, who oversaw the managerial recruitment process at the time Pardew joined. Parish had sacked Neil Warnock after only 16 league games in charge, and coincidentally, Pardew’s principal family home remained in Surrey. Along with Pardew’s past affiliations with the club, it appeared to be a good fit all round.
‘Pards’’ four years on Tyneside featured some dramatic highs and lows with Chris Hughton’s successor leading Newcastle, against all odds, to a fifth-place finish, winning the manager of the year award, before head-butting Hull City’s David Meyler and surviving a relegation dalliance.
At Newcastle, their form since the turn of that year into the end of season 2013-14 was described by the regional press as “a total collapse”, with the club losing 15 of 21 competitive fixtures and fans discontent boiled over.
Some fans created a website, ‘Sackpardew.com’, to instigate his dismissal and protests were also planned before a game against Hull City.
Despite the fact that things aren’t as bad as that yet at Palace, the question has been asked about Palace’s own total collapse. The team have not won in the league since December 19 and currently, there are no signs of a recovery.
32 goals scored all season tells pretty much the whole story. Only five teams have scored fewer goals in the league. Conceding late goals has also cost the team dearly, as along with Newcastle United, the two teams concede the most late goals in the Premier League. Those late goals are symptomatic of where the two teams’ main problems lie, with Pardew and Rafa’s men both letting in 14 goals in the last 15 minutes of league games – more than any other side.
Palace supporters can look back ruefully at Selhurst Park affairs, such as against West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur, in which they conceded two goals in the last 10 minutes after going into the final moments all square at 1-1. Then there was the controversial Christian Benteke penalty. It just hasn’t gone their way.
Cabaye has missed parts of the campaign due to injury, but the Frenchman impressed in the first half of the campaign after arriving from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, but like Palace, his form has dipped since the turn of the year. The signing of Cabaye was a statement of intent – underlining the ambitious mantra of Alan Pardew and Steve Parish that the Eagles should not put any brakes on their momentum. Now there are rumours that both Liverpool and West Ham want the Palace marquee signing in the summer transfer window. That would be a huge blow for the Eagles, who are looking to build a competitive Premier league team now that money is being invested from America. Relegation is therefore not part of the plan and neither is selling off the Palace jewels.
After progression in terms of the final finishing position in each of their previous two seasons in the top flight, there is a growing possibility that they are not going to be able to exceed what has gone before. The Eagles finished 11th in their first year up, followed by 10th, but serious progression appears to be halted after the expectation of better things.
It may not end up being the season they had hoped for, but they should at least stay in the Premier League, but more worrying is that these terrific highs and lows seem to follow Pardew wherever he goes.