Eye on the Opposition - Swansea (03/01/2017)

Written by Jack Pierce

Palace play Swansea in an undoubtable six-pointer. Here's Jack Pierce with his look at the opposition.

Benteke hands on head

Let's not beat about the bush with this one.

We have to beat Swansea

They are distinctly the worst side in the division and Sam Allardyce could really do with a win in his first home game as Palace manager.

If, come 9.50pm on Tuesday evening, the Palace players walk off the pitch without the three points, the atmosphere will frostier than the January chill already forecasted for SE25.

Swansea's board did what many thought they would do and sacked Bob Bradley having realised he wasn't having the impact required. The criticism of a man who accepted the chance of a lifetime was absolutely embarrassing on the part of some 'pundits' but ultimately the appointment didn't work out and with Paul Clement lined up to take the reins after the Palace fixture, Huw Jenkins and the American investors will be hoping that the third man to hold the Swansea job permanently this season will be able to build a side able to fight harder to stay in the division than shown up till now. For now, trusty Alan Curtis remains in charge.

The threats on Tuesday evening will, again, revolve around Gylfi Sigurdsson. His set piece delivery was the catalyst for that dark, dark Saturday in South Wales at the end of November and if our marking is anywhere near as slack as that day, the recently named Icelandic Sports Personality of 2016 will no doubt exploit. There's also the possibility of him benefitting from our goalkeeper's tendency to tap dance but we won't go there this time.

January is depressing enough.

Defensively all over the place against Bournemouth last time out, Swansea's confidence at the back is shot. Coming up against such a side will surely offer Wilf the chance to bid us farewell, before he sets off for Gabon and the AFCON, with a performance more typical of his season than the one served up at The Emirates. By no means anywhere near as bad as Mark Lawrenson suggested on Sunday's MOTD2, it's fair to say the winger's performance wasn't great and he'll be hoping to put that right on Tuesday.

A Palace win would take us to a quarter of the way in comparison to 2016 home wins by just the third day. Sounds pretty good if you don't analyse the annus horribllis we've just endured at 'home'.

But more importantly will be seeing whether the club have made the most of recent developments at the club, commercially.

Pints of wine, pre-game, surely a must now?!