Swansea 1-1 Palace
Crystal Palace staged an impressive second half comeback at The Liberty Stadium to earn a valuable away point. Johnathan De Guzman gave Swansea the lead in the first half as the home team dominated with 83% possession leading into the break. After losing 2-0, 3-0 and 3-0 in the last three meetings the Eagles looked set for another disappointing afternoon against the Swans only for Pulis to pull off a tactical masterstroke and turn the game on its head.
“I got it wrong” said an extremely honest Tony Pulis in his post-match press conference. This resulted in him hauling off a very under par Thomas Ince and replacing him with last season’s Championship top scorer, Glenn Murray, and shifting to a 4-4-1-1 formation from a 4-5-1. “We turned their midfield and around and made them defend and became more dominant as the half went on” continued Pulis. By the end of the match Gary Monk’s men were clinging on for dear life.
"Their energy severely disrupted the passing game that Swansea like to play."
Ince was booed throughout for his pre match talk in which he suggested Swansea would not be able to handle the Crystal Palace attack. This appeared to have backfired as he failed to reappear for the second half, however, he was ultimately proved right. Cameron Jerome had replaced the injured Marouane Chamakh in the first and half and once paired with Murray up top in the second half, their energy severely disrupted the passing game that Swansea like to play.
Then there was Yannick Bolasie.
His directness down the right flank in the second period had Swansea at sixes and sevens. Ben Davies could not live with his skill and power and time and time again he got the better of the full back. His final ball left a lot to be desired but his ability to beat his man with ease pulled the Swansea defence all out of shape as players came across to try and help Davies defend the rampant winger. This almost proved to be the downfall for the Swans as deep into injury time Bolasie waltzed through the right flank again and picked out Jerome Thomas in the box. With the goal at his mercy the former West Brom man tries to con the referee with a dive only to receive a booking for his shocking efforts. He would later head into the referee’s changing room to apologise for his antics.
"Palace were undoubtedly helped by the substitutions that Swansea made."
Palace were undoubtedly helped by the substitutions that Swansea made. Hernandez has been very impressive of late but his hamstring forced him off early and Wilfried Bony and Ashley Williams were replaced having suffered from sickness in the build-up to the game. The Bony and Williams substitutions were key. As soon as Bony was replaced by Lita Palace took full control of proceedings and terrible defending from Amat, Williams replacement, allowed Murray to nick in and win the penalty which also saw Chico Flores red carded.
What must not be forgotten is that without the save from Julian Speroni in the first half this comeback would not have been possible. The ball is squared across the six yard box and a simple tap in puts the game beyond Palace. The Argentine has other ideas and springs away to his right and somehow gets his right hand to the ball! A truly world class save.
At half time there was only one winner… but that is the beauty of football.
“He will get fined for that” said Pulis, referring to Thomas’ ludicrous dive in the 93rd minute. He said that Chamakh would also be fined for a dive in the first half. Whilst the Thomas punishment is fair I feel that it is extremely harsh on the Moroccan when considering that there was contact and he was actually injured by the challenge. Maybe Pulis will feel differently when he sees it back.
The Gaffers decision to fine the players has gone down well with the British public and press alike. Hopefully more managers will follow suit.
It is clear that the contact takes place outside the area. Chico Flores took to Twitter to air his disgust at the decision; “This is penalty?? Incredible, 1 meter outside the area.” (I assume that he will be fined for that, a fine that should be doubled for his flagrant disregard of the metric system). As they say in football, everything evens out over the course of the season. Finally we have had Ashley Young’s 4 foot dive into the penalty area at Old Trafford repaid.
Words cannot describe how much I love this man. Watching him celebrate his goal was amazing. To almost singlehandedly fire us to promotion last season only to have to sit out until January must have been horrible for him. All of the hard work, the early starts and the late finishes in order to get fit was done for that moment and the emotion all spilled over as Murray celebrated like he had just won the World Cup. What a guy!
Having now scored in all of the top 6 English divisions and every domestic cup competition, Glenn Murray is going to be a quiz masters dream for years to come.
Man of the Match: Yannick Bolasie
I actually had to have the most ridiculous conversation with a man on the train who was utterly convinced that Yala had a mare! If he did not look/act like Frankie Fryer I would have thought that he was trolling me but the passion in his belief was just too strong for that. In the end we just had to settle on the obvious, we were clearly watching two very different matches.
"Some of the skill he displayed harked back to the glory days of last season."
Sure Yala was wasteful at times. He over hit a few crosses and was dispossessed on five occasions (according to whoscored.com), however, his directness was tantamount to our victory and some of the skill he displayed harked back to the glory days of last season.
The winger has found life difficult in the Premier League so far. The standard of full back in this league is on a completely different planet to those in the Championship. For me it is where the biggest gulf in class lies between the two divisions. He is not going to be able to stroll around them like he did last season. However, he does appear to be learning. There was a much better balance between effective footwork and fancy footwork yesterday and he used his strength and pace to devastating effect. Here’s hoping that he can play like that eleven more times this season!
Just like Cardiff they are a moany lot. From whistling at Speroni from the first minute suggesting that he was trying to time waste to having the cheek to show outrage every time that Mike Dean gave us a free kick when he had given them 95% of every 50/50 decisions all afternoon, they really got on my nerves. For that alone it was great to ruin their day.
That being said, singing “Daddy’s Boy” at Ince was pretty funny.
As for us, a good turnout and a decent performance on what was quite simply a rank day weather wise.
Up Next: Southampton
This is a match we have to try and get something out of. With Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool all to come to Selhurst we have to try and take maximum points from this and the Villa match at home. It’s one of those Cup Finals that everyone seems to talk about so let’s be loud, be proud…. You know the rest.
Come on you Palace!