Palace 1-0 Chelsea
Crystal Palace pulled off one of the shocks of the season to blow the title race wide open and take a giant step towards Premier League safety for the first time in the clubs history.
It was a John Terry own goal that settled the match but that does not fairly represent the attacking efforts displayed by Tony Pulis’ side. Wave after wave of counter attacks from the Eagles did all but yield what would have been a deserved second, third or even fourth goal. Yannick Bolasie, Cameron Jerome, Jason Puncheon and Joe Ledley all went close with the home team also having two very big penalty appeals turned down.
“One of the most important saves of the season”
Chelsea were not chanceless at the other end. Joel Ward denied Andre Schürrle a certain goal scoring opportunity with a great sliding challenge when facing his own goal and Terry headed narrowly over before Julian Speroni twice denied Eden Hazard once with a tip around the post from range and once with a world class save, described as “one of the most important saves of the season” by Jonathan Pearce during his commentary.
Then in the 88th minute Stuart O’Keefe saw a back pass intercepted by Fernando Torres, Selhurst Park held its breath and the Spaniard lifted his effort high over the bar.
In truth all but one of these efforts were far from clear cut, a testament to the brilliant performance from the front to the back.
You know that you’ve done something groundbreaking when you’re first on Match of the Day. Shearer was raving about us and he was not alone. “A richly deserved win” said Owen Phillips from BBC Sport. “In a pulsating game, Palace played at a quicker tempo, displayed the greater quality and could easily have won by a bigger margin.” All of this in a game where Mourinho sought the headlines again by chasing down a ball boy who Puncheon had encouraged to waste time.
Should we be Surprised by the Result?
Obviously beating the league leaders is not something that we should regularly expect from our beloved club and yesterday I walked around with a disbelieving smile on my face for the remainder of the day. However, now that the dust has settled, I find myself somewhat unsurprised at our victory.
Do not fear! I didn’t hit my head whilst celebrating John Terry doing something worthwhile for once! I actually have a decent argument as to why.
"At Stamford Bridge in December we were far from outplayed."
Firstly, back at Stamford Bridge in December we were far from outplayed. We only lost by a single goal and left feeling extremely disappointed not to have claimed a point. Secondly there was our performance at Manchester City. Another loss by the odd goal but another display in which we created many chances and were unlucky not to leave with something. Finally, Arsenal at Selhurst Park. Only two world class saves by Wojciech Szcznesy in the Gunners goal prevented Palace from taking something from the game.
Basically, this result has been a long time coming. We have proved on three occasions this season that we can live with the teams at the very top of the division on our day and it was only a matter of time before this sort of result smacked the Premier League in the face.
What makes this victory even more impressive is that we were playing against twelve men all afternoon.
“The matches against Southampton and Newcastle have highlighted the importance of good officiating” said Pulis in his programme notes. “Having managed for a long time, I do understand that we have to accept mistakes during games from our top referees, but they can and do affect results. I do hope that today we can talk about the game and how exciting it has been, and not about a decision that has affected the result either way.”
"Thankfully Lee Mason’s shockingly one sided performance did not affect the result."
Thankfully Lee Mason’s shockingly one sided performance did not affect the result, but it most certainly could have. The Jerome and Cahill incident could have gone either way. The Chelsea defender does flatten Jerome although Jerome is nowhere near to getting the ball. That being said, it doesn’t mean that it is not still a foul and it was inside the penalty area. Then moments later Bolasie is scythed down in the area for what should be a clear penalty only for Mason to favour Cahill’s league leaders again with his decision.
Then we have four Palace bookings to Chelsea’s one. Puncheon was booked for a foul that was mimicked by Frank Lampard a little later with Scott Dann his victim. Did Lampard go into the book? Of course he didn’t. That might upset Jose.
If we go down on goal difference this season, Mason’s terrible decisions could easily be considered as a contributing factor.
Another amazing display from the Argentine. I find it hard to believe that there are three better goalkeepers than him in Argentina at the moment. If he doesn’t go to the World Cup it will be criminal in my mind. He is now doing it at the top level and has conceded only 39 goals, the sixth fewest in the division, whilst play for a team struggling at the bottom.
Offer the man a new contract on THAT save alone!
Man of the Match: Cameron Jerome
This just comes down to personal preference. I could easily have handed the award to Speroni, Delaney, Ward, Mariappa, Puncheon or KG. All had exceptional games and were key in the victory. Jerome pips it for me. His tireless work and pace constantly had Chelsea on the back foot and was extremely unlucky not to score, striking the post of the beaten Cech’s goal.
“If he Jerome could finish he could get in the England team on that performance” I heard one Chelsea fan say.
I was getting tweets from football fans all over the world praising us for our efforts.
Wins against Chelsea are few and far between so beating them to earn such a crucial three points, the atmosphere was always going to be immense. Now we must take this momentum, both on and off the field, to Cardiff to make sure that we consolidate this amazing win by not losing to a relegation rival.
And of course I will never forget "Scoring goals for Palace, John Terry, John Terry!" Classic.
Up Next: Cardiff
A monumental game in our season. Win and we are all but safe. Lose and we are right back in the thick of it.
Come on you Palace!