Palace 0-2 Swansea
Crystal Palace lost by two goals to nil for the second game running as inform Swansea effortlessly glided past Holloway’s Eagles. It took Michu only eighty seconds to give Laudrup’s men the lead before Chico smashed an effort against the post only seconds later to show that City were far from suffering from a European hangover. Dyer completed the scoring early in the second half to confirm a deserved victory for the Swans.
“Those new lads have just received a volley from me” said Holloway after the game. “Our pressing lack umph” continued the Palace gaffer and he couldn’t be more right. His decision to play two new signings, Guedioura and Bannan, in the centre of the park backfired as any fluidity that Palace did have in this area was lost through a lack of understanding. In stark contrast Swansea knew exactly what they were doing with the ball and often picked the home team apart with apparent ease.
"KG and Jedinak have a great understanding with each other and the two of them on top form would have been required to disrupt the assured Swans midfield."
Holloway suggested that Dikgcaoi was a big miss in the middle, suspended after wrongly being sent off at Old Trafford last weekend, due to his ability to break up play. KG and Jedinak have a great understanding with each other and the two of them on top form would have been required to disrupt the assured Swans midfield. Instead the forced change saw Guedioura come in and put in a performance that can be described as abject at best. “Perhaps I should have bought in O’Keefe” pondered Holloway afterwards.
The mood of the fans after the game was overly downbeat. If there is any Palace fan out there who didn’t expect us to get some hidings this season then they need to have a rethink. Promotion inevitably means a squad overhaul and with sixteen new players coming in there is going to be an initial bedding in period before they can potentially provide the quality that is needed to keep us in this division.
I feel that the reason for the overly downbeatness (artistic license word) is because of how people view Swansea. Lining up the Swans as a team that we should potentially be picking up points from is ill judged. The last two times that we played Swansea before today we lost 3-0 in both games and barely touched the ball. Since then they have moved on leaps and bounds, won a trophy and gone to Valencia and stuffed them 3-0 in their own backyard. It is not little old Swansea anymore. They are a proper Premier League team and will probably finish in the top half of the table this season.
Points for Survival
The Premier League table, as it stands at this moment in time, perfectly splits the teams that we need to aim to pick points up from the teams that any point would be a bonus. First to ninth place reads;
Any sort of points from any of these games should be considered a bonus. Sure people could squabble over Southampton, but I believe that these are the best nine teams in the division and they all possess squads that are far superior to our own and thus should, in theory, beat us. Face it now, the chances of getting anymore than 5-8 points out of these 18 fixtures are slim.
This means that, if we aim on the low side, we gain 5 points from these fixtures and thus need 35 points from the other 20 fixtures from the teams listed below. Tenth to bottom reads (exc Palace);
We have obviously played two of these fixtures and have a points return of 3. That is 1.5 points per game in these fixtures. Project this across twenty games and we gain 30 points, which would put us not too far from safety. Of course the sample size is small but I am sure that one can grasp my point. These are the fixtures that we need to perform in in order to stay up, not the fixtures against the teams that currently sit in the top half of the table.
Playing for the Shirt
We prided ourselves on our togetherness as a team last season and the season review DVD of last season is littered with Palace players talking about how close they all were. Holloway suggesting that “they looked like strangers out there” is therefore more worrying than the actual defeat. Yes they need to gel and yes this will take time, however, what I am talking about goes deeper than this. At the end of the game, yet again, it was only Dean Moxey who made any real effort to applaud the fans. Last season 95% of the team would do this at the end of every match.
"At the start of the second half only 4 of the 11 were at the club last season."
At the start of the second half only 4 of the 11 were at the club last season. The 7 who weren’t clearly have a lot to learn about what it means to play for the Crystal Palace shirt. “If I had that Palace shirt on I know what it would mean to me” said Holloway. The bare minimum is 100% commitment to the cause and this was certainly not the case at points today. This survival battle is going to be hard enough, without maximum commitment then the battle is already lost. The good news is we have Ian Holloway at the helm and if he cannot inspire them to want to play for the shirt then no one can.
Injury Affects Performance
Yet another defender picks up an injury. This time Delaney had to go off at half time with “an ankle like an elephant.” He joins Joel Ward, Jonny, Parr Jack Hunt and Paddy McCarthy on the injured defenders list.
Due to injuries we did not have any defenders on the bench and Jedinak had to drop into the back four in the second half and it was at this point that we completely lost the midfield. It is easy to forget that for the last 25 minutes of the first half we actually had a lot of the ball and were working our way back into the game. If we started the second half in this fashion then maybe we could have got something from the game. Instead we lose Jedinak’s immense presence in the midfield and with it went the game.
What did they say on Match of the Day?
Other than suggesting that Michu "knows when to pass and knows when to shoot" before immediately saying "he just delayed his shoot too long there" there was nothing too contentious. Clearly it is Hansen that causes the issuses. Not there, no dickishness.
@stephdonovan: Lack of commitment and togetherness from a team that were unrecognisable to fans and players alike.
@Trindog: The difference in passing ability between our centre backs and theirs were staggering. We looked more threatening playing route one.
@rcfoster: That was a massive lesson, the gulf between Swansea and us was immense. Holloway’s honesty was refreshing but we need to learn.
I will include two extra tweets this week, just to show how people can view one game completely differently;
@tq85: Jerome looked lazy and didn’t track back, got in Puncheon’s way at one stage! No heart, not a Palace player. Just there for the pay cheque.
@dank615: I take it back about Jerome, he worked his socks off. Bannan and Guedioura were terrible though. Bring back Garvan.
One of the many reasons why we all love football.
Man of the Match: Adrian Mariappa
I came very close to giving it to Michu... but it will remain a Palace player only award. Jedinak ran Mariappa close but the new boy just pipped it for me on the grounds that Jedinak got dragged out of positions a few times when he was moved into the backline. Best of a bad bunch springs to mind.
Very flat. The usual suspects were singing all game but there was no stadium wide particiaption. Swansea scored their goals at the perfect times to kill the crowd stone dead and eliminate us as a factor in the game.
Up Next – Southampton
A team that falls into the category of ‘any point is a bonus’ for me. I will be hoping for a more hearty performance and signs that the squad have started to gel. COYP!