Crystal Palace Fan View: Eagles flatter to deceive on deadline day

Chris Hawes

Thursday morning it looked so promising. Bids in for Sakho, Mangala and rumours of loan deals for both a striker and a goalkeeper. Only one of the four materialised as 11pm came and went, and a fantastic signing it was, but was it enough? Last week I said that the Crystal Palace board faced a straight choice: back Frank de Boer or sack him. I fear we’ve done neither.

Read more: Frank de Boer MUST stay at Selhurst Park

Connor Wickham remains out for the foreseeable future, potentially leaving Palace in the lurch in attack
Connor Wickham remains out for the foreseeable future, potentially leaving Palace in the lurch in attack

The case for a striker is straightforward. With Connor Wickham out until January and Benteke the only senior striker we’re not overly furnished in the striker department, but we missed out on Niasse from Everton and it seemed there were very few options aside from that. As for a keeper, Brondby’s Frederik Ronnow was mooted as a potential loan deal but this too never materialised with reported issues with the paperwork.

It took until 2am for Mamadou Sakho to be announced, but when it finally came relief spread across Crystal Palace fans. Think we haven’t done enough in the window? Take Sakho out of that and it’s even worse. He’s a fantastic signing, don’t get me wrong, and in every other situation apart from the one we’ve found ourselves in it may have been enough. But now, with the performances we’ve been subjected to? I’m not sure.

Read more: Back Frank de Boer or sack him

Mistakes from Martin Kelly cost Crystal Palace dearly against SwanseaFocussing on the positives, what Sakho will do is give us a much stronger base from which to work. Our display against Swansea was disappointing on so many levels, but the reason we lost that game was simple: two individual mistakes. We may not have deserved anything, but a point was far from out of reach had it not been for Martin Kelly. Twice.

If we can stop conceding sloppy goals, preventable goals, then we’ll put ourselves in a much better position. We need to make it difficult to score, Crystal Palace can’t afford to be gifting two goals to Swansea. All that feeds into the confidence of the rest of the team, people forget that Hennessey had a spell at the end of last season where he kept us in consecutive games. It’s no happy coincidence that this came at a time when the team as a whole was doing well and playing with confidence, which was first instilled by the addition of Sakho in January.

Read more: 3 lessons learned from defeat at Anfield

Sakho made a big impact during his first loan spell at the club

Is it the end of the world that Sakho was the only deadline day addition? Of course not. I think everyone involved with the club would have liked to have seen another player over the line at least, but the reality now is that that hasn’t happened. The squad is as it is and now it’s the job of Frank de Boer to shape it into a more coherent team that’s capable of pulling us out of the mire we have worked ourselves into.

Wilfried Zaha’s return can’t come soon enough, but once that has happened we arguably have a better first eleven than ever lined up under Sam Allardyce, or in fact any Crystal Palace manager. Ruben Loftus-Cheek looks classy, the partnership between Fosu-Mensah and Sakho is one I’m looking forward to seeing blossom and the attacking trio of Zaha, Townsend and Benteke is still a dangerous one.

There is hope yet.