SussexBaggie speaks… Beating Palace and signing Saido

It says a lot about how far we have progressed as a club in recent years that people are complaining about a routine home victory in the Premier League.

Yes, Crystal Palace were awful and are almost certain to go down even at this early stage of the season. However, to win a game at this level without playing anywhere near your best is something to be encouraged by.

As has been the case on a couple of occasions already this season, Saido Berahino made a big difference.

The young striker – currently in negotiations with the club over a new contract – scored within 15 minutes of replacing Billy Jones, a bold substitution by Steve Clarke that saw Morgan Amalfitano move to right-back and Berahino play in front of him on the right wing.

The game was made safe in the closing stages thanks to a trademark Gareth McAuley header from a Chris Brunt corner, but only after Palace had missed two presentable chances of their own as they looked to take a share of the spoils.

After watching us play so well at Stoke a couple of weeks ago and somehow fail to win, getting the victory was all that mattered on Saturday.

Taking too Long

One of the main talking points post-match has been the performance of Shane Long.

I have always been a big fan of Long due to his work-rate and ability to cause any defender problems when on form, but his performances have been poor for several months now and he has undoubtedly moved down the pecking order.

Against one of the worst defences in the league on Saturday, he did absolutely nothing of note. He failed to win any aerial challenges and despite continuing to work hard with very little service, he simply never looked like scoring.

The one chance that came his way after a superb run by Berahino ended with him taking too long on the ball and being dispossessed by a Palace defender.

He can still make an impact coming off the bench, but I get the impression that Long is a player we may to look to move on in January as he is finding chances hard to come by now we have improved the squad.

Signing Saido

Another big discussion point at the moment is regarding Berahino’s new contract and just how important it is that he signs it.

He has made a superb start to the season and is still our only striker to have scored in league or cup since the start of the campaign.

There are obviously aspects of his game that need improving, but he looks as though he has the ability to play and score goals regularly at this level.

With this in mind, getting Berahino to commit his long-term future to the club has got to be one of our main priorities at this moment in time. He will undoubtedly be attracting interest from bigger clubs, but he simply won’t get the number of opportunities he gets here if he were to join Arsenal or Manchester City, for example.

Chelsea bound

Our next game sees us travel to London to take on Chelsea on Saturday.

Over the last couple of seasons, we have come very close to drawing at Stamford Bridge but have just been unable to do so.

We are playing with a lot of confidence at the moment and as with our games against Manchester United and Arsenal earlier in the season which saw us pick up four unexpected points, there is absolutely no pressure on us.

I hope Clarke resists the temptation to go slightly more defensive and continues to encourage the players to get forward, as we have shown this season that we can cause any team in the Premier League problems when we are commit players forward.

It will be a very tough game, but the pressure is all on Chelsea, so hopefully we can go there and pick up another surprise result.

Boing Boing! 

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