Can Crystal Palace Qualify for Europe?

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Crystal Palace climbed up to ninth in the Premier League table last night. Their 2-0 win at Bournemouth was a comfortable one and it looked as though the three-month lockdown period had done little to put them off their stride. First-half goals from Luka Milivojevic and Jordan Ayew did the business for Palace, who have now quietly snuck into the pack of teams looking for a place in Europe.

Crystal Palace in Europe?

A Massive Turnaround in Form

Technically, this was Palace’s fourth win in a row in the Premier League. Prior to lockdown, they had recorded three successive 1-0 wins against Newcastle United, Brighton & Hove Albion and Watford, which had still kept them just about in the bottom half of the table.

Roy Hodgson’s side have benefitted from Arsenal’s poor restart to the Premier League season, overtaking the Gunners by two points and are now level on 42 points with Tottenham Hotspur.

Before this run of form, though, Palace hadn’t won since the Boxing Day success over West Ham United. Four straight draws afterwards were followed by three successive defeats which might have had the Eagles looking nervously over their shoulders.

Now, though, they could be forgiven for quietly dreaming about a place in Europe, particularly if Manchester City’s ban is upheld.

How Can Palace Do It?

If City do not end up playing in Europe next season, it means the fifth-placed Premier League team will qualify for the Champions League group stages, sixth-place will enter the Europa League group stages, and seventh will enter the Europa League at the second qualifying round.

These places are held currently by Manchester United, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield United respectively. After their win last night, though, Palace are only two points behind the seventh-placed Blades and only four behind Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils.

Whether Palace can do it or not will depend on their results against the team around them. In their final three matches of the season, they face United and Spurs (currently eighth) at home with a trip to Wolves in the middle.

Additionally, their next game is a trip to champions-elect Liverpool and they have fixtures against Chelsea and Leicester City. The only matches against someone not in the current top ten are Burnley and Aston Villa.

It’s far from a favourable run-in, but they have shown this season and in the past that they can compete against the bigger teams.

 

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