Crystal Palace v Barnsley – Saturday 06 April – Kick off 15:00
Palace League form over the last five league fixtures: W, D, L, L, L
Tell me more…..
After staving off the threat of relegation to League One in 2010, the Eagles are soaring again through the initial good work by former player, and manager Dougie Freedman.
The 2009/10 season will go down as one of the most memorable in the club’s history, and not for the good reasons. Who could forget the ‘ghost goal’ that never was when Freddie Sears’ perfectly legitimate goal against Bristol City was disallowed, the club going into administration, manager Neil Warnock moving to Championship rivals Queens Park Rangers, teenage prodigy Victor Moses swapping his home club for the Premiership, and finally being 90 minutes from dropping into the third tier of English football.
A final game of the season battle to save their Championship status showdown with Barnsley’s Yorkshire rivals, Sheffield Wednesday in 2010 has proved to be a catalyst, and a big turning point for the South Norwood based club. Over 37,000 people crammed into Wednesday’s Hillsborough ground whilst also having the clash aired on the television, Palace knew anything but a defeat would have been enough.
Despite the imposing home atmosphere, Palace under the temporary guidance of Paul Hart snatched a 2-2 draw to send Wednesday tumbling back down into League One, and after months of uncertainly clouded the following summer, Palace were finally taken over by CPFC 2010, and instantly installed George Burley as manager and Freedman as his assistant.
Aruna Dindane, who has been training for with Eagles for a few weeks, has received international clearance and he is now available to make his debut against Barnsley. The 32-year-old has joined until the end of the season from Qatari side Al-Sailiya and bolsters the firepower ahead of the end of season run in, and Andrea Moritz could also be handed a recall after he figured in Easter Monday's defeat to Blackpool.
Their season so far:
After losing four out of their first five games, Palace’s season really took off in September, and ever since they have been a force to reckon with. Dougie Freedman led his side to the top of the Championship table with an unbeaten record that stretched to 14 games. The run of impressive results brought admirers, and Bolton Wanderers, relegated from the Premier League last season, made their move to appoint the young manager. Ian Holloway left his post at Blackpool to embark on a new challenge as he looked to cement Palace among the front runners in the battle for promotion, but a recent slump in results has seen the side fall away from the automatic promotion spots. Notwithstanding that with six games remaining, Palace are well placed to clinch an end of season play-off spot.
Who’s their star man?
Biggest win:This Crystal Palace team has a fine array of talent, and contain the impressive spine from back to front that is essential to succeeding in this division. Despite all the rave reviews of Wilfred Zaha, who completed a move to Manchester United in the summer before being loaned back, Glenn Murray has had a sensational 2012/13 season. The Barnsley defence will have to be in top form to keep out Murray, who has 30 goals to his name this campaign, and is the Eagles top goalscorer by some distance – Zaha is the second top goal scorer with six goals – it is a wonder as to where Ian Holloway’s side would be without his goals.
The start of November pitted a high-flying Crystal Palace side, under new management after Holloway had waltzed into Selhurst Park, against an Ipswich side rooted at the bottom of the table. Holloway’s reign could not have gotten off to a better start. Goals from Yannick Bolasie, Andre Moritz and a 13-minute hat-trick for Glenn Murray piled more misery on the Tractor boys and the result also meant the Eagles had stretched their unbeaten sequence to 12 games.
Holloway’s side have not been in the best of form in recent weeks, and have lost their last three league fixtures, and during this run, was on the end of a hiding on their own back yard. The first game of the Easter period saw Birmingham City travel to Selhurst Park and inflict a 4-0 defeat on Palace, a result that consequently meant the Londoner’s had lost their first game at home since August. Talented teenager Nathan Redmond opened the scoring before a Damien Delaney own goal was followed up by further goals from Ravel Morrison and on-loan Shane Ferguson to really put the brakes on Palace’s promotion charge.
A blast from the past…..
Selhurst Park has not been a happy hunting ground for the Tykes in recent years. You have to go back to January 15 during the 1999/2000 season for the last time they came away with a win. Dave Bassett was the man in charge at the time when he led his play-off chasing side to a 2-0 victory with the goals coming from Bruce Dyer and midfielder Darren Barnard, who scored from the penalty spot.