Palace 5-0 Ipswich
Crystal Palace scored five goals in a game for the first time in over four years to sink Mick McCarthy’s bottom of the league Ipswich Town and take over at the top of the Championship. Glenn Murray claimed his second hattrick of the season, with two coming from the spot, and he could have had four as he saw a third penalty kick saved. Murray’s treble, taking his tally to thirteen for the season, was sandwiched between two first goals for the club. A beautiful lobbed effort from Yannick Bolasie opened the scoring and a classic break away in injury time saw Moritz and Parr combine well before the former tapped home into any empty net to complete the rout.
Holloway looked on with a smile on his face as the Red n Blue machine continued to bulldozer every team in its path and he was left raving at the end, “it’s almost a ‘pinch me, I’m dreaming’ situation”. In the opposite dugout stood Mick McCarthy, a man who was heavily linked with the position that Holloway has taken up, and must have been asking himself the exact question that the Palace fans sang at him shortly after the fourth goal hit the back of the net... “Oh Mick McCarthy! What have you done?”
In fairness to Mick and his Tractor Boys, they managed to do what few teams have in the last twelve games and disrupt our free flowing passing football and frustrated the home fans for the opening twenty minutes. However, it was clear that the Ipswich players work rate was extreme and thus unsustainable. As soon as Bolasie expertly lobbed the ball over Henderson in the Ipswich goal, it was clear that the game was over as their energy levels, along with their heads, dropped.
The age old Palace attitude of “we are bound to fuck this up” was prominent in the crowd and near on everyone in attendance was positive that we were going to lose 1-0. (All except Paul Darville (founder of Palace on Tour) who had money on Bolasie to score first and Palace to win 5-0 at 350/1... sadly it was only 50p, still £175 is not to be sniffed at!! ) We started slowly and Ipswich seemed invigorated under McCarthy and the opening only increased the nervousness in the stands.
We have to stop this people!!! There was only ever going to be one winner in the that game and despite the “poor” opening we still could have been 1-0 up in the opening few minutes as a typically skilful and direct run from Bolasie opened Ipswich up before he found Murray who saw his reverse shot just slide the wrong side of the post. As much as Ipswich unsettled our style of play during the opening, they never looked like troubling us offensively. Our players are playing with more belief than I ever remember seeing our eleven play... we must back their belief with some of our own.
What is certain is that we will have to get used to teams frustrating us at times by setting up with shutting us down the only thing on their mind. Keep faith in the boys and the goals will come regardless.
What was interesting about Ipswich’s plan of (defensive) attack was that they chose to shut down Owen Garvan and not Zaha or Bolasie. As suicidal as this may seem on the surface it is actually genius on McCarthy’s behalf. Most of our play is focused through Garvan and stopping him from playing went a long way to stopping the team from playing.
Now for the impressive part from us. We were able to adjust our style of play, almost evolve it on the spot, to counteract their pressing of Garvan. We did this by, for the first time in weeks, looking long. There was a tonne of space in behind the Ipswich defence as they were pressing so high up the field and we looked to exploit this with the pace of Zaha and Bolasie and it is no surprise that Bolasie’s goal came from a long ball in behind.
Often with passing teams, take Arsenal for example, the fans become infuriated as their teams have no plan B and will pass themselves to death instead of trying to adjust when it is not working. Better still, as soon as they tired and could not press us anymore, we seamlessly slipped back into our passing game and this enabled to rip them apart in the second half. I can only imagine that this was Holloway exerting a little bit of his experience on the team so things are already looking good where this appointment is concerned.
Yes Ipswich are bottom of league and thus not the greatest challenge we are likely to face this season, however, to destroy them in the fashion that we did, whilst not ever reaching anywhere near the brilliance of the performance on Saturday vs Blackburn, must go a long way to convincing the doubters that are left that we are more than a good team this season. Great teams win when they are not at their best and as Alan Hansen loves to tell us on Match of the Day, this is a sign of Champions... dare we dream?
Man of the Match: Yannick Bolasie
This was a slightly easier decision than on Saturday. Of course we cannot ignore Glenn Murray and everything that he is doing at the moment. Five goals in two games, thirteen on the season when he only managed seven all of last season, the man is an absolute monster. However, he misses out on Man of the Match again.
Joel Ward deserves a mention and was a part of this brilliance as he beat three players to set up Murray’s third, whilst all along fulfilling his defensive duties with aplomb. The same can be said for Ramage and Delaney, who seemed very eager to perform well against the club that let him leave so easily.
After shunning him for the man of the match title on Saturday I cannot ignore Yannick again. His goal aside, he terrorised Town consistently and created chance after chance. A wicked cross to the head of Moritz late on in proceedings showed the brilliance that his right boot is capable of.
Before the game had even kicked off the HF were responding to the rubbish that was on the forums, most notably the thread about them having to wind their necks in. “Holloway’s Red N Blue Army” was loud and proud and the group later joined in with “Ollie, give us a wave” drawing exactly that from our new boss.
As we all know now this turned out to be Fleming’s last game at Palace. He has since joined Bolton and it was nice that he got a little bit of attention with “There’s only one Curtis Fleming”.
Mile Jediank and Glenn Murray started the game with no songs and both finished it with several. Mile Jediank was graced with the old “Jobi Mcanuff” chant before a few around us started chanting “Jedi, use the force! Jedi, Jedi use the force.”
Glenn Murray has had the Alan Lee chant to “Let it be” being aired by a few in recent weeks and this finally got off the ground, however, it was “He scores when he want, oh Glenn Murray, He scores when he wants” that really raised the roof.
Finally, singing “We’re Crystal Palace, we’re top of the league”, regardless of whatever happens from this point on, is something that I will never forget.
If you weren’t at the game you missed an absolute party, a party that continued long after the game was finished. With 3500 odd Palace fans heading to Peterborough on Saturday looking for another three points, make sure you get yourself down to Selhurst the following week for the Derby game.
Here is to a season long party.
We are top of the league!