The international break came at the right time for Crystal Palace. The Eagles have lost their last four Premier League games in a row and find themselves in big trouble right now. Sitting 16th in the table with 11 points, the South London club must improve really soon or else they could be dragged into the relegation scrap. Pardew has two weeks to come up with a plan to make the Eagles bounce back.
Since Alan Pardew took charge of Crystal Palace, the Eagles have always failed to impress on a consistent basis. They have had a good run for like 5-6 games and then an 8-9 game winless streak come their way. Pardew cannot claim that the owners have not backed him. He will soon run out of excuses if things do not improve really soon.
Here are three things Pardew could do to drag the Eagles out of this situation.
Play a double pivot in midfield
Crystal Palace have a tendency to leak away too many goals and that needs to change. The Eagles have conceded as many as 10 goals in their last 3 games which is far from impressive. Alan Pardew has mostly played 4-3-3 this season with McArthur operating as the defensive midfield behind Joe Ledley and Jason Puncheon or Yohan Cabaye.
It’s pretty evident that there is not much defensive screen ahead of the back four and switching to 4-2-3-1 with two midfielders operating deep can change that. Crystal Palace do have the muscle in midfield in the likes of McArthur and Ledley and they should be played in more defensive roles.
Create more from the central area
Crystal Palace look too reliant on their two wingers Wilfred Zaha and Andros Townsend for creating chances and there is not much service from the central areas. As mentioned in the last point, switching to a 4-2-3-1 formation can solve this problem. Both Cabaye and Puncheon are capable of creating chances from the central positions and either of the two should be played in the number ten role.
Switch flanks between the full-backs or play Fryers instead of Kelly
Pape Souaré is being missed sorely by Crystal Palace so far since he hurt himself in a car crash earlier this season. Souaré used to play a key role for the Eagles with his exceptional eye for a cross. Martin Kelly is being played mostly at left-back this season and there is literally no forward surge from the former Liverpool man.
Kelly is naturally a right-back but he is not known as the most adventurous full-back and he is poor with his weaker left foot. One thing Pardew could do is to play Ward at left-back who is pretty comfortable with playing there and switch Kelly to the right. Or else, he could very well hand Zeki Fryers more first-team opportunities. He cannot be worse than Kelly after all.
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