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By Luke Jacobs, London24 Crystal Palace blogger
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Our Crystal Palace blogger takes a look at the club’s recent rise up the table
Name: Luke Jacobs
Twitter handle: @lukemjacobs
Favourite player: Geoff Thomas/Current: Julian Speroni
Most memorable game: Crystal Palace 1-0 West Ham, play-off final
Predicted finish: 12th
Well, what do you know? Just as mutiny was threatening to break out amongst the dwindling Selhurst Park ranks, Crystal Palace go on a stunning run of form.
Five wins in six games have put our unfancied team just three points from the top.
And Wilfried Zaha, clearly our most in-form player right now, has been rewarded for a series of scintillating performance with an England Under-21 call-up for the games against Serbia.
Without a doubt, he has grown this season, both literally and in terms of his off-the-ball work and anticipation.
Wilf could be frustrating to watch at times during 2011/12 as, after outwitting his opposing full-back he would find his way into the penalty box and invariably take the shot on himself - blazing it over the bar - or deliver a disappointing final ball.
Now, as the pivotal part of a red-hot front three, he has a hit a fine run of form.
He will go far in the game, provided he makes the right career decisions.
In the wake of reports linking him with Liverpool and Tottenham, Dougie Freedman has quite rightfully pointed at the relationship he has with club’s academy stars.
The only danger in the short-term for him is that fellow players will attempt to characterise him as somebody who goes down too easily in the box, to cover-up their inability to deal with him.
As for the team, well, go back one month and most fans would have considered the possibility of beating purported promotion contenders Wolves, Bolton and Cardiff as laughable.
The mood in SE25 was despondent after the first week’s collapse against Watford. Gianfranco Zola’s side looked vibrant compared to the cowed, unambitious team in red and blue.
But can it all be put down to the string of new signings, who made their debuts in the wins over Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton?
Damien Delaney is said to be weighing up a move to the MLS at the end of his short-term contract but he has undoubtedly added steel to the backline. Wales international Darcy Blake’s decision to come to London was also a boost.
Yannick Bolasie has helped rejuvenate Glenn Murray, and Joel Ward is finally becoming the Nathaniel Clyne replacement we all hoped he would be
It could be said that it was in fact those early season results which forced Freedman to make those signings and reassess his tactics.
So after all this, how much money on a 0-1 home reverse to Burnley this afternoon?