The odds of 11/2 on Crystal Palace in the Premier League relegation betting look exceedingly generous in light of the Eagles’ continuing scoring troubles.
Alan Pardew’s men notched just 39 times in the division last term, less than all bar two of their rivals and their first pre-season friendly since has done little to dispel fears that finding the net will continue to be a struggle in 2016/17.
Palace’s inaugural post-holiday leg-stretcher saw them held to a 0-0 draw by Philadelphia Union, who finished last season with the third-worst record in Major League Soccer.
Improving their goal threat has clearly been on the agenda for the Eagles, with ambitious enquiries made into signing both Michy Batshuayi (now of Chelsea) and Liverpool’s Christian Benteke.
However, all that they have so far succeeded in doing is selling Dwight Gayle, the club’s top all-competitions goalscorer in each of the three seasons since they returned to the Premier League.
There is an argument that defensive rather than attacking inadequacies are the ultimate relegation indicator.
Over the last five seasons, 11 of the 15 demoted teams had one of the season’s three worst defences, whereas only seven of those to succumb to the forces of footballing gravity had one of it’s three least-prolific attacks.
Palace had the tenth best rearguard last term all told, however their horrendous slump of form at the turn of the year suggests that they won’t be able to rely on their rearguard to bail them out in 2016/17.
Based purely on results from in 2016 the Eagles would have been relegated in 19th last term, with the third-worst defence and the second-poorest goal difference.
With the Selhurst Park side’s hopes of signing Benteke receding due to Liverpool’s refusal to lower their £32m asking price, their survival may be decided by whether or not they can source an effective goalscorer in the remaining months of the transfer window.