What are Crystal Palace's key games before the new year?

It's not been the season that Eagles chairman Steve Parish had been hoping for so far. But there's hope of survival given who they play before 2013 is over.

Managerless and bottom of the Premier League. Crystal Palace fans have had a tough time on their return to the top flight.

The departure of Ian Holloway was sad to see but extremely refreshing as most managers would wait to be pushed rather than walk of their own accord.

At the time of writing, former Stoke boss Tony Pulis is the heavy favourite to take over the role and be left with the tough task of keeping the Eagles up.

Let's have a look at what games left in 2013 are of most importance in the fight against the drop.

Hull City (A) 23rd November - If a new man is placed in charge this week then their first game as manager will be against a side that were also promoted last season. Steve Bruce's Tigers have had a great start to the season but if Palace want to survive, then they need to be picking up positive results against teams that will be in and around the bottom six at the end of the campaign which City are expected to be.

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Norwich City (A) 30rd November - A week later is a trip to Carrow Road to face another struggling side in Chris Hughton's Canaries. This must be seen as another opportunity to get some points on the board and pull them closer to teams with their head just above water.

West Ham United (H) 3rd December - The new man's first home game would be against their London rivals in a midweek clash. Sam Allardyce's Hammers aren't scoring but they may have Andy Carroll back for this one which could cause problems.

Cardiff City (H) 7th December - Four days later and another game against a newly-promoted side. Cardiff came up as champions and will fancy their chances of picking up a win at Selhurst Park, but a win for the home side can give them a huge lift.

Aston Villa (A) 26th December - Boxing Day sees them travel to Birmingham to take on Paul Lambert's side that are looking much more comfortable this season than they were last campaign. Despite that, this game does offer a good chance of gaining points over the Christmas period before their last game of the year at Manchester City two days later.

image: © Tom Brogan

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