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Fulham defeat would see heads drop at Palace
2:14pm Tuesday 15th October 2013 in Latest Sport
EAGLES columnist WILL TAYLOR believes only victory in Monday’s televised relegation six-pointer with Fulham will suffice or the doom and gloom at Selhurst Park will only deepen.
IN recent years I have approached every international break with a growing sense of disdain.
The mundane certainty of England’s qualification is almost as inevitable as the inescapable failure that embraces us at the start of each new tournament.
This time, however, I welcomed the respite from club competition.
Aside from Dwight Gayle’s consolatory strike at Anfield, four demoralising defeats in quick succession has seen little cheer emanate from SE25 in recent weeks.
In fact, it was rather refreshing to discuss the frustrating nature of an ailing team with a nation rather than simply a portion of south London.
There are several similarities that come with supporting Crystal Palace and the England national side.
The same unbridled passion exists at the core, but it has had to make room for soaring ticket prices and numerous managerial changes. There is also that familiar nagging feeling of underachievement and dogged insistence upon choosing the hardest route towards success.
We are both seeking out the next hot prospect that will reignite fire into the relentless chants of supporters, even if it disguises the fact that the probability of silverware grows ever bleaker.
But whereas England have all but overcome their make-or-break fixtures, the Eagles are just about to embark on arguably their season-defining moment.
Next week the club will host Fulham for their debut on Sky’s Monday Night Football in a game which will see Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher analyse our every defensive lapse and misplaced pass.
It's safe to say they won't be short of material.
At Liverpool, the back four resembled adolescent school boys camped deep out in the wilderness.
Adrian Mariappa was the only player who seemed accustomed to his new surroundings, while Dean Moxey was tied in every Boy Scout knot imaginable before foolishly attempting to ‘engage’ with cool kid Raheem Sterling.
But despite allowing wave upon wave of the Red Sea to crash against our fragile rearguard, there were a few glimmers of hope further up the pitch.
Jose Campana emerged from the bench to once again stake a claim for a regular starting role, Jimmy Kebe continued to look positive if somewhat apprehensive in front of goal and the return of Yannick Bolasie provided that missing ingredient of flair.
Our crisis in confidence is still painfully evident, rearing its ugly head every time we venture into the final third of the pitch, but at least it’s something we will share with our opponents this time out.
Dimitar Berbatov and Bryan Ruiz currently flicker between uninterested and unimaginative, while former talisman Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey have been replaced with a collection of unflattering misfits.
However, gift Fulham an ounce of creative freedom and Selhurst Park will represent the perfect stage to revive their miserable fortunes.
The media circus has been parked outside Craven Cottage for a while now, eagerly waiting to cart Martin Jol away along with that statue of Michael Jackson.
But if Ian Holloway fails to capitalise on an ageing team hanging precariously on the ropes, then it’s likely the tabloid vultures will swiftly turn their attentions and instead begin feasting on the despair and dejection at our club.
Several members of the squad have expressed their belief we are close to turning it around.
But anything less than three points against Fulham would invite a sense of doom and gloom, especially with Arsenal, West Brom and Everton on the horizon.
I worry that once heads finally drop, the rest of the club will quickly follow.
Follow @NewsShopperSprt on Twitter for live updates from Crystal Palace v Fulham.
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