Saturday December 3rd 15.00
Life is a curious thing. For too many of the world’s 7 billion plus people, it is a tough and uncaring thing, brutish and often short. For others, a tiny percentage of others, life is measured in wealth beyond the GDP of many a small country. A smattering of Have’s and an ever-increasing slew of Have Not’s. This is how our world looks in 2016, an increasingly fractious and despairing scene all set against the backdrop of a planet that is creaking beneath the weight of our fatally rapacious demand for finite resources.
Why always me?
And yet, against all of that, Alan Pardew probably feels like he’s the most put upon man in the world. Yes, most of us would likely think that we’re top of the world were we to manage a club in the BPL with all the monetary remuneration such a position brings but Pardew is not like the rest of us. He’s different; better, even. Don’t forget, not three months ago he was still openly shilling himself for the England job. It’s a shame that reality has intruded so brutally into his dreams.
We could be zeros
Only one team has conceded more this season than Crystal Palace and no team has taken as few points this calendar year. Currently, Palace are the proud owners of a six game losing streak. We’ve said it here many times before, Pardew is a streaky manager but those streaks usually had a little from column A and a little from column B. Lately, though, he’s been top loading toward failure and tottering toward the trap door.
Claude Puyel is a manager who is very much at the opposite end of that spectrum. New to the league, his Southampton side are motoring along quite nicely, their win over Everton last week lifting them to 10th in the league, just three points behind Manchester Utd. Frustratingly for the British rags, despite being one of them foreign types who is doubtless out to destroy England, he hasn’t said or done anything controversial and seems content enough to do his job and act like an adult. Where does he think he is?
Marching on up
Following last weekend’s win, they visited the Emirates and beat a much-changed Arsenal side 2-0 to get through to the League Cup semi-final where they’ll face off against Liverpool. It should be pointed out that they too shuffled the deck to a large extent in the win over Arsenal, their conveyor belt of talent seemingly fit for purpose. Full of confidence and boasting quality in depth, the Saints are getting their march on.
A six game losing streak is bad enough but the manner of Palace’s defeat last weekend might have shredded what was left of their soul. To be 4-3 up in the 90th minute of a helter-skelter game only to lose 5-4 by the time the ref blew for full time would be enough to break the spirit of most men. Pardew isn’t most men but flesh and bone he is. He’ll brass it out to the end but that is surely coming soon. Southampton to win, 13/10 from Bet365.