After a positive result against Everton and an even more positive appointment to the club’s technical staff Crystal Palace will go into the international break with plenty of cause for optimism and their long odds of 15/2 to stay up could be worth consideration.
The shutout against Everton was Palace’s first clean sheet in 12 games this season.
As the transfer window slammed shut Eagles fans would have been aghast to see the Championship’s 15th best defence of 2012/13 strengthened to the tune of just one centre-half.
Yet on the whole the south-east Londoners’ defence has been relatively resolute in the Premier League, mostly undone by a combination of individual head-in-hands moments, shady penalty-area gymnastics and the occasional Puskas Award contender.
Holding an attack that included the often devastating Romelu Lukaku at bay was a rare reward for all the hard work individual errors have spoiled this season and should provide a timely confidence boost ahead of the international break.
Cardiff’s loss is the Eagles’ gain as former Bluebirds’ head of recruitment Iain Moody gets on board.
The sense of doom was all pervasive after the blind led the blind through the autumn transfer looking glass at Selhurst Park, but January should offer hope of some more shrewd acquisitions following Moody’s appointment as Sporting Director.
A former press officer turned polyglot player-procurer Moody had been responsible for bringing high calibre European and domestic signings such as Gary Medel and Steven Caulker to the Welsh club and is sure be scouring the globe for talent already.
Aitor Karanka’s ascent to the head of the next manager betting is a breath of fresh air.
Having won a trio of European Cups, as well as the La Liga title, Spanish Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup the Spaniard’s appointment would bring some much needed pulling power to the club.
As assistant to Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, the former Blancos stopper has the kind of international reputation that predecessor Ian Holloway lacked, with his Bernabeu boss suggesting “I think the club that gets him, whether in England or another country, will be a lucky club.”