Crystal Palace's season rests on November, March and April

Ian Holloway couldn’t have asked for a worse start and finish to the new Premier League season.

The newly promoted side face Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in their opening four games, as well as a very difficult away match at Stoke City.

They also face two of their most difficult home fixtures in their final three matches of the season with the visits of Manchester City and Liverpool.

The run-ins at either end of the season suggest that if Palace are going to secure enough points to ensure their Premier League safety then most of their good work has to be done over the middle months.

You have to bear in mind that the sides they face at the begging of the season are looking to land heavy blows and get early position in the title race while the matches at the end of the season could be crucial in the title race or the dash for a European slot.

It’s very important that Palace don’t let their heads drop if they get off to a poor start because the fixture generator hasn’t exactly been kind to them.

Palace will take a great belief and mentality into next season, which was evident throughout the play-offs, where not many people were giving them a chance of actually going up.

If they play hard through the middle chunk of the season, their status as a Premier League team could be safe at the back end of the campaign meaning they don’t have to get after some of the best teams in the league.

Holloway would be the first to admit that it’s a simple case of one step at a time, focusing on each match and moving onto the next one.

He knows what it’s like to suffer relegation from the Premier League with a newly promoted side and he already seems very determined to prevent a repeat of that from happening.

It will sound cliché but there aren’t really too many easy fixtures for the club. November looks like the month where Palace could really get stuck in and dig out some crucial away points with their only home match coming against Everton.

March and April also look like very good months because Palace only play two big Premier League sides over the eight week period and they will fancy their chances of getting points from their other fixtures.

November is important and March and April can take the pressure right off the side by the close of the campaign.

It will be fascinating to see how it unfolds but if Palace can avoid disaster through August and September, they should be well set to stay up.

What do you make of the fixtures? Which games are you looking forward to?

image: © Mick Baker

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