Have Crystal Palace got it all wrong this season?
After leaving a relegation dogfight behind to finish an impressive 11th under Tony Pulis last season Crystal Palace fans were looking forward to the new campaign with gusto.
However, Pulis’ lack of signings throughout the summer started to raise eyebrows and when the manager left of his own accord on the eve of the first game all the hard work of last year was undone.
The Eagles were then drawn in to the Cardiff City text scandal by virtue of their connection to managerial candidate Malky Mackay and many fans wondered if the situation could get any worse.
Since then chairman Steve Parish has appointed a new manager in Neil Warnock who busied himself ahead of the transfer window deadline to enhance his squad.
Even so, some fans of the south London club fear that things have turned for the worse and not for the better.
Warnock’s marquee signing was Wigan’s James McArthur, and while the Scot certainly has ability his arrival raises questions about how Joe Ledley – one of the star performers last season – will fit into the team.
That is something that Warnock will need to work out but more worrisome is the lack of quality attacking talent in the squad.
Record signing Dwight Gayle has hit the ground running and looks destined to score plenty of goals but beyond that there is little to strike fear into the opposition.
Jason Puncheon was joint top scorer last season with seven strikes but – regardless of the club’s official line – he will surely not relish playing under Warnock given their history.
Marouane Chamakh hit just five goals last year and has been ruled out for the next few weeks while Warnock has enhanced the air of nostalgia surrounding his appointment by bringing in Andrew Johnson and Kevin Doyle.
Neither man has been prolific in recent years and Doyle has even struggled to make an impact in the lower reaches of the English game.
Gayle, Puncheon and Wilfried Zaha combined to score three as Palace earned a point at Newcastle last time out but the trio cannot be relied upon to score week in week out.
Palace are now just 8/5 for relegation and a look at the fixture list shows that they need to get points on the board sooner rather than later.
With three of their last four games of the season coming against Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool the Eagles will want safety assured well before the final month of the season!