Crystal Palace’s FA Cup third-round trip to Dover Athletic of the Conference Premier looks every inch the banana skin.
The Eagles are bereft of form and confidence having won one of their last 14 games, scoring once or less 12 times and drawing a miserable seven blanks during that sequence.
With little time for Alan Pardew to get his feet under the desk, they face a tricky away tie against red-hot Non League opposition who last lost 17 games back.
Yet the ailing giants look to be something approaching value at 11/25 for victory, with their hosts a modest 5/1 for the win and the draw a 31/10 shot.
Read on for the rationale…
Losing away is something Palace only do for the very best…and Hull
Pardew’s troops are no away patsies despite their rotten form, losing just four times in 12 trips this term.
Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City were responsible for three of those reverses.
The Selhurst Park outfit have kept clean sheets in three of their last four games away from the ranch
Recent shutouts at Loftus Road and White Hart Lane, where both QPR and Tottenham have been in excellent nick, show that defending is not the Eagles’ problem.
Dwight Gayle got through 28 minutes against Aston Villa last time out
A proficient punisher of lower league defences during spells at Peterborough, Dagenham and Redbridge and various sides outside the Football League, Gayle made his return from injury against the Villans and should be in line for more minutes in Dover.
He made the most of a rare start under Neil Warnock to help himself to a hat-trick against Walsall in the Capital One Cup.
At 7/2 to score any time he rates at one of the reasons the Eagles can find the cutting edge they’ve been lacking in the Premier League against a side plying their trade several tiers lower.
That the Athletic defence is unlikely to be up to the standard of those who have been repelling Palace of late is certain – Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie should be dreaming contentedly of goals when they’re tucked in to their bunkbeds on Saturday evening.