Five reasons why Crystal Palace can avoid the drop

Julian Speroni for Crystal Palace

The Eagles produced a resilient defensive display to see off Hull City on Tuesday night and, in the process, drag the Tigers into the relegation mire.

Crystal Palace's revival under Tony Pulis has been nothing short of remarkable, with the former Stoke City manager masterminding an unbelievable run which has seen them pick up 13 points from 18 at home since his appointment in late November.

The latest triumph was another 1-0 success - the third time they have won by that particular scoreline at home under Pulis - over Hull City which boosted Palace's survival credentials and landed a killer blow to their opponents'.

Jason Puncheon's early goal was the catalyst for another rearguard display as they kept the Tigers at bay to move five points clear of the drop zone.

Here are five reasons why they are unlikely to re-enter it...

Puncheon above his weight:

The Palace winger has been one of the star performers in recent weeks and has recovered from his shocking penalty miss at Tottenham two weeks ago to yield two goals and two back-to-back wins for his side since.

He took his goal superbly last night, arrowing a powerful finish into the top corner beyond the hapless Allan McGregor after his initial header was saved. He may have been clinical when it mattered but Puncheon also showed the sort of industry required in a typical Pulis team to help seal the win.

Solid midfield base:

Mile Jedinak and Joel Ward put in stellar performances too to ward off the threat of Hull's misfiring club-record signings of Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long up front as the duo failed to hit the right notes.

The defensive midfield twosome suffocated Hull's midfield and forced them to try and play out to the wings by not allowing midfield runners past them, they were outnumbered by the presence of David Meyler in an attacking position to supplement Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore but they battled hard throughout the entirety of the contest to ensure there would be no share of the spoils.

Dogged defending:

While the central midfield excelled, Palace's defence went one step further in preventing Long and Jelavic. Adrian Mariappa and Damien Delaney in particular were outstanding for Palace as they dealt with a succession of crosses and high balls, while a shout must also go out to Julian Speroni, who claimed the fair share of deliveries into his area.

Dean Moxey joined in with attacks but also kept his guard defensively against the threat of Ahmed Elmohamady and was constantly on hand to mop up in defence. Pulis will be proud of his side's efforts at keeping another clean sheet.

Impending arrivals:

While there may have been frustration around the club at a lack of purchases so far in the window, it appears inconceivable that Palace will not do some business in the remaining days, with securing new players for each position regarded as the priority.

Palace's squad is deep but is lacking in Premier League quality and should encourage Pulis to remain active until the final minutes in trying to engineer at least two new arrivals.

Momentum:

Often the buzzword associated with a club creeping towards the play-offs in the Football League or a side hovering around the European places at a higher level, the phrase momentum is not commonly associated with a bottom-of-the-table quest for survival.

Normally it is a team on the slide who garners the most attention, but the impact Pulis has had means Palace are becoming more and more likely to avoid immediate relegation. They may not have the quality of player compared to other squads at the bottom but the spirit and never-say-die attitude on show against Hull stands them in good stead for what will be a fight right about until May to preserve their Premier League status. 

image: © Tom Brogan

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