Blackpool, must win game?
If early reports are accurate, Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew, will hand a debut to France international goalkeeper Steve Mandanda for the League Cup game against Blackpool at Selhurst Park.
Mandanda will be desperate to impress, not only because it will be his debut but because Hugo Loris, the French number 1, is injured and this is the perfect chance for Mandanda to stake his claim to start in France’s two upcoming fixtures.
However, after suffering two 1-0 defeats in the opening two games you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a must win game for the Eagles, but I think is a game we can afford to lose.
In the second half of last season the Eagles had a good cup run which resulted in us reaching the FA Cup final but, according to Pardew, it came at the expense of our league form which has nosedived since Christmas.
While I find that pretty difficult to believe, as most teams can concentrate on two competitions at once, if it were true then I think it would be a good idea to sacrifice the League Cup game against Blackpool.
Why? If we go on a good League Cup run then when February comes around we might find ourselves in the League Cup final and bottom of the league. Best to chuck the League Cup in early and concentrate on our league position.
Of course there is the counter argument that winning in the cup could build momentum and be the kick start to our season. This is true and I am not suggesting losing on purpose, just not take it too seriously.
I read that 2 side of the ground will be closed for the fixture which, if true, would be shocking! Even back in 1984 with crowds of 3,000 we had all 4 sides open.
There are also mumblings that new signing Christian Benteke won’t play, which makes sense. With there being only one day of training it would seem meaningless to risk him from the start of a pointless cup game without getting to know the squad.
What ever the case, tomorrow’s team selection should be an interesting one. Should Pardew treat the game as a must win or should he use the game to give a run out to players who want to earn a place in the Premier League squad?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.