Crystal Palace’s three points against Watford could prove absolutely vital in their battle against the drop.
Sam Allardyce’s side are four points clear of the relegation zone thanks to three Premier League wins in a row.
Something has gone badly wrong for them to be in that position, hence Alan Pardew’s sacking just before Christmas.
When you take a look at their squad, it’s quite unbelievable that they are where they are. The board invested in the team over the summer, and were trying to compete with Chelsea and Tottenham for the likes of Michy Batshuayi.
Of course, that deal didn’t come off, but they still have an impressive XI featuring Christian Benteke, Andros Townsend, Yohan Cabaye, and Wilfried Zaha.
That is not a team that should be going down. If Palace don’t survive, they won’t be able to keep hold of any of them, and even if they are in the top flight next season, it will still be a struggle to convince them to stay.
Zaha has long been linked with a move to Tottenham. The Ivorian has been on Mauricio Pochettino’s radar for a while now, but Palace have done their best to hold firm.
Allardyce is effectively denying any knowledge of Spurs’ pursuit of his star man, telling a press conference:
“Spurs were always mentioned because agents or somebody decided to stir the pot.
“We all know who stirs the pot behind the scenes even though they deny it, but we know they do it.”
This isn’t just a rumour, and Spurs have had bids turned down in the past for the former Manchester United man.
Palace fans will be relieved, at least, that Allardyce is making some attempt to ward off the top clubs, even if they are resigned to losing Zaha in the summer.