The Lowdown: Palace struggling for form
Despite overhauling the way Palace played football compared to the Roy Hodgson era, Vieira is certainly in a tricky situation as things stand with results not going the Eagles’ way of late.
Palace are currently six points above the bottom three and have played some tough fixtures, but they aren’t going to get any easier, with more difficult games on the horizon and Wilfried Zaha still facing time out on the sidelines.
The Eagles have won just once in their last 10 games, and while they did pick up points against Manchester United and Newcastle United recently, Palace are slowly slipping down the table.
The Latest: Pressure starting to mount on Vieira
Speaking on the HLTCO podcast, Cook stated his belief that Vieira’s future is unclear after a torrid run of form and with more tough fixtures still to come as Palace get closer to the bottom.
He said: “The run of games that we have between now and the end of March are extremely difficult. On paper, I think it probably matches up with the most tricky runs of any team in the division. And whilst by definition, those fixtures then ease off between April and May, we may well be staring down the barrel of a gun at that point.
“You do wonder, I do genuinely fear for Patrick Vieira’s time in charge.
“He’s taken the decision to relieve Shaun Derry of his duties as coach; that is obviously a very big call given the emotional connection that Shaun Derry has with the whole of Crystal Palace Football Club, not just the fans, but the board of directors, Steve Parish, the players – some of them – it’s a bold move. and one that I can understand… you can’t have dissenting voices within the same management structure.”
The Verdict: Vieira has to start getting results
It would be very surprising to see Parish call time on Vieira’s tenure at Selhurst Park given how he’s managed to gel together a very young group of players in less than two seasons in charge, especially amid the horror run of fixtures.
Palace have indeed been dealt a very harsh hand in terms of this run of fixtures at the moment and it couldn’t have come at a worse time with clubs around them including Everton, Wolves and Nottingham Forest beginning to pick up points and self-belief.
Also, the fact that Vieira is having to navigate this tough period without his star man and top scorer in the form of Zaha suggests he needs to be handed the benefit of the doubt and handed the time to turn things around – although losing against bitter rivals Brighton would be a huge blow.