Palace 3-1 Wolves
Crystal Palace got back to winning ways on New Year’s Day thanks to a stunning Andre Moritz brace that sandwiched a second goal for the club from Yannick Bolasie. Both strikes from the Brazilian came from free kicks seeing his left boot live up to the hype that it arrived in SE25 with.
The first was a sumptuous free kick, clipped over the wall and into the top corner giving Ikeme absolutely no chance in the Wolves goal. His second was a battle of wits with the Wolves keeper, a battle the attacking midfielder won with ease. Identical position to the first, this time Andre curls the ball into the opposite corner, where Ikeme is standing. The keeper, wary of the first, takes a step to his left and is left helpless as the ball flies past him on his right, leaving me scrambling to try and remember the last time a Palace player scored two free kicks in a game. I still do not know!
Bolasie finally capped yet another great performance with a goal, stabbing home with the outside of his right foot after some fine work from Zaha had put the Palace number seven in on goal.
66% possession and 16 shots to Wolves’ 6 donesn’t even go as far as it should in displaying the dominance from the men in Red n Blue. Five of the six Wolves effort were from range and were only one effort that hit the crossbar was ever in danger of troubling Jules. On the flip side, on top of the 16 shots (7 of which found the target) that we had, the ball flashed across the Wolves six yard box on several occasions and on another day it would have been a complete landslide.
Wolves were the perfect team for us to play. They are completely devoid of confidence and, quite frankly, awful. Before the game even started a simple glance across to the Wolves away support started to tell the story of their current plight. I cannot remember the last time that they bought as few as 1000 to Selhurst, showing that a usually loyal support is abandoning ship in a time of need. The squad of players that they have should be challenging for promotion in this division, yet they languish in 17th place with a win looking a million miles way. Meanwhile, Stale Solbakken actually says post match, “We are in deep shit at the moment”. This begs the question; does Stale actually know what he is doing? “You’re getting sacked in the car park” sang Block B of the Holmesdale, the only surprise is that he has managed to survive into today (at time of print).
Wanderers’ lack of confidence outweighs our own and this served our needs perfectly. We were able to gain the win we so badly needed, to halt a five game winless run, and it enabled Zaha to rediscover his mojo. In the first half he continued the recent trend of not running at players when on the ball. He was constantly offloading the ball to Parr, a trait completely out of character with his natural game. Wilf talked in the programme about decision making being the most difficult part of football and that he feels that he is learning when to pass and when to run at players. From never passing to always passing (in recent weeks) has meant that there was still no balance in his decision making and as a result a dip in form has occurred, however, the second half was a different story. Once more he was breezing past players like they weren’t there and always making the right decision at the crunch point. Finally choruses of “He’s Just Too Good for You” were ringing around Selhurst once more and the man rated by many at £15m+ was back.
Aside from Andre Moritz, who I will talk about under the ‘Man of the Match’ section (below) this was a fantastic team performance. Jedinak won around 4572 headers in the middle of the park and, along with KG, completely dominated the midfield. Bolasie and Zaha gave the full backs a torrid time despite constant fouling and zero protection (yet again) from the referee. “Everyday full backs just trying to kick man off the ball expecting a little reaction or something not round here m8 #keepitclam ha lol” saw Yala comment via Twitter on the treatment dished out to him during the game.
At the back, Gabbidon was class before he went off at half time (a precaution as he felt his hamstring) and Peter Ramage put in his usual blood and guts type display. Aaron Martin even did ok when he came on (we’ll over look that he was at fault for the goal we conceded). Parr was doing his usual bombing up and down the wing, however, his final ball still leaves a lot to be desired and at left back Dean Moxey was back to his best and came very close to the ‘Man of the Match’ award in my opinion.
Up top Glenn Murray was as dominant as ever. Winning flick on after flick on, holding the ball up with ease, chesting the ball down into the path of the on rushing midfielders and giving Johnson and Stearman, two of the best centre backs in the division, one of the worst afternoons they will experience this season. By the end of the game Johnson had thrown his toys out of the pram, storming away from the referee when receiving a booking for squaring up to Murray, and this resulted in 15 minutes of abuse from the Palace faithful. “Johnson, what’s the score?” “Johnson, you’re a c**t” and “Give it to Johnson” followed by 17,000 boos when the ball was passed to him were chants that all hit high decibel levels. To be fair to him, he let it all go at the full time whistle and shook everyone’s hands, so fair play.
What was pleasing about Murray’s dominance was that he did this whilst only managing to win two free kicks despite being pushed and pulled all over the pitch for the entire game. The second free kick that he won came in the last minute and resulted in Holloway putting his hands to the heavens, as if praising God, as ironic cheers filled Selhurst Park.
Referee Watch: David Phillips
I am going to include a referee watch until the referee’s stop ruining football matches in games involving Crystal Palace. For the SIXTH GAME RUNNING the referee had an absolute mare.
Mr Phillips was a late stand in as Andy D’Urso was supposed to officiate this match and I can only imagine that he wasn’t expecting to have to work and thus was out on the piss until the wee hours of the morning.
The game saw him award Palace 15 free kicks. Double that and we might be getting closer to what we should have been awarded. Meanwhile, he managed to award 13 fouls against us when I am not entirely sure that Wolves even touched the ball 13 times in the whole game!
There is a lot of money at stake in football these days. The fact that referee’s are part time when there is so much on the line is ridiculous. There is next to no accountability for poor performances/decisions and merely relegating a ref to a lower division for his poor performance serves to further devalue the Championship and Leagues 1 & 2. It is really not on and needs to be addressed.
Man of the Match: Andre Moritz
Weeks of speculation, created because of a few misunderstood tweets, led to many believing that Andre Moritz was on his way out in this transfer window. Andre put an end to these rumours by stating that he will definitely be here until, at least, the end of the season.
The move to Palace was always to put him in the shop window, do not forget that. However, he has not had the opportunity as game time has been low so it is easy to understand his frustration. Now is his time to shine.
KG is off to the African Cup of Nations and Garvan is now out long term meaning that Moritz will be thrown in at the deep end and after his performance in this match it would appear that this is just the way he likes it.
His range of passing matches Garvs, however, his strength completely blows Owen out of the water and a few more performances like this and the impressive Irishman will be struggling to claim back his place from the man with perhaps the greatest song in football.
GET MORITZ OUT FOR THE LADS!
A bit slow starting as New Year hangovers were nursed but it really picked up towards the end of the first half and was absolutely brilliant come the end of the match. In amongst the berating of Johnson there were deafening choruses of “Get Moritz Out” and “Scoring Goals for Palace, Glenn Murray” and the usual post goal “We Love You” had the whole of the stadium celebrating the win in style.
What was impressive was that the Holmesdale was completely sold out. Not bad going considering that recent results have been so openly abused. A packed Holmesdale equals a loud Selhurst. Keep it up people!
With a tough Xmas out of the way we get to see the kids play Stoke before we get tucked into a series of very winnable games. Back in the mix by the end of January? I sure hope so.
COME ON YOU PALACE!