Crystal Palace may already be four points adrift of safety and overwhelming 1/10 favourites in the Premier League relegation betting, but there are reasons to suspect that the 21/4 about them beating the drop isn’t such a bad price.
A tough beginning to the fixture list is giving way to a more lenient period.
It’s unlikely Ian Holloway’s pre-season safety calculations would have included points from clashes with top-flight big dogs Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool.
By contrast the Eagles have taken three points from their most winnable home game against Sunderland and were unlucky not get the draw they would have desired at Stoke.
After the international break their next eight games include winnable duels with Fulham, West Ham and Cardiff at home and West Brom, Hull and Norwich on the road.
The 2012/13 Championship’s 15th-best defence aren’t as porous as expected at this level.
Considering they shoulder the dual burden of having a defence that was far from watertight in the second tier and the supposedly gung-ho Holloway in the dugout, Palace’s defensive organisation hasn’t been embarrassingly exploited so far.
Only Liverpool have notched more than twice against them.
Uncharacteristic individual errors against Stoke City and questionable refereeing decisions leading to penalties against Tottenham and Man Utd also swell their goals-against tally.
At home their defence has conceded less than Sunderland, Swansea, Fulham, Norwich, Cardiff and Aston Villa.
Palace signed 16 new players over the summer and started the season with countless injuries.
A slow start was always going to be hard to avoid given the wholesale renovation of the Eagles’ playing staff over and with many of the men brought in lacking the benefits of a full pre-season an improvement in their output can be expected as the season wears on.
Apart from the new signings needing time to adjust Palace have began the campaign without last season’s 30-goal leading-scorer Glenn Murray and fellow front-three member Yannick Bolasie, who made 85 appearances for the club between them last term.
With fellow attackers Jonathan Williams and Jerome Thomas also finding their way back to fitness a more vibrant Palace attack should be just around the corner.