FIVE Year Plan fanzine editor ROBERT SUTHERLAND backs the Eagles to carry on defying the critics - including a certain Match of the Day presenter... NO ONE will give Crystal Palace a chance against our West London neighbours or against the free-spending City, despite the Eagles' upturn in form. The pundits will say that there just isn't enough quality in Tony Pulis's side. That the hard work and effort exerted against Cardiff City, Hull City and Everton can't be replicated against two of the best teams in the league. To write Palace off is perhaps as crazy as it is to suggest that Pulis will magically conjure up points against the Premier League's oligarch playthings. However, Palace have found an organisational verve that has kept clean sheets in three of the clubs last four fixtures, and a creative spark that saw the Eagles dominate against Cardiff City. Of course, none of the teams that Palace have won points against have been top-four sides; the first half performance against Liverpool was grimace-inducing, yet the performance against Arsenal (despite the defeat) proved to be one of hope rather than sheer disappointment. And there are signs that Palace aren't going to just lie down against their next two opponents. One such player who has refused to lie down is striker Marouane Chamakh, whose performances have been symbolic of Palace's Premier League revival. The vast improvement we've seen in his performance is indicative of just how much influence Tony Pulis has had this past fortnight. Recognising the strength in Chamakh's ball-playing quality, the Moroccan striker has been deployed behind the hustling and bustling presence of Cameron Jerome, to good effect. It has allowed Chamakh to play a pivotal role in attack, linking up Palace's defensive midfield with its attacking presence. As Pulis said after the win over Cardiff, Chamakh's quality has always been there, and he used Arsene Wenger's decision to sign him as a reinforcement of that belief. Lineker His goal-shy spell at Arsenal and West Ham turned him into a point of comedic reference for plenty, with the most outspoken of critics being Match of the Day's Gary Lineker. With every goal and every influential performance, Lineker and fellow critics are forced to bite their tongue. Chamakh is a symbol of what Palace can become, rising from downtrodden and written-off no-marks to being the team to silence critics.
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