So, after a triumphant victory over our fierce rivals last week, we’re back to square one after a reality check from Crystal Palace.
I said in my pre-match predictions that we would be brought back down a peg or two through their wingers if we weren’t careful, how right was I?
Shambolic, gutless, pathetic, inexcusable, choose whatever adjective you want to describe that performance, it won’t make you feel any better and the nagging feeling of “we’re knackered” is starting to creep back in once again, at an alarming rate and I have no sympathy towards the players.
In a nutshell, Yannick Bolasie absolutely tortured us, I mean, he literally turned John O’Shea inside out and made finishing look like childs play. After that, I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost all trust in our captain, Lee Congerton best add centre backs to his list for the summer. A player as experienced as that should know better, jockey, bully, hounding him, anything to unsettle the winger and put him off from coming back. None of that was seen.
Their wingers epitomised the term ‘hassle’ and showed that pace can unsettle the best of backlines, we had nothing to counter that. It was frustrating.
I just don’t get it, we were unbelievable last week, we played football, we looked dangerous and our forwards looked like they were capable of scoring whenever a chance was presented to them. Saturday was a reminder of why we were fighting for relegation. Again. Defenders shouldn’t be pushed off the ball like that, our midfield disappeared and our forwards, they couldn’t get inside the box most of the game. Only Connor Wickham’s goal offered some sort of a consolation.
Alan Pardew’s side really did bully us and we caved, they showed exactly why and how they can beat anyone in the division at the minute, no matter what position their opponents are in the Premier League, credit to them for doing that.
However, this is a stark reminder to Dick Advocaat to why we’re in the position we are in and what the job entailed when he was presented to the media. The look on his face after the game said it all and all but confirmed that we can’t do anymore to save our season, that we would have to rely on teams around us to pull us out of trouble.
Looking at the final few fixtures, now, it’s hard to see where we will collect points. Before Saturday, I would have said Stoke, Everton and Leicester City would be games in which we’d be almost certain to get a result. Typically, the teams we’re battling against are winning or picking up key draws from nowhere, I would love some of that for our team. We need it.
Dark clouds are forming yet again over the Stadium of Light. I hope it doesn’t come to it but we’re in serious, serious danger of being relegated.