West Brom 2-0 Palace
Crystal Palace lost for the seventh match in a row at the Hawthorns, a feat not suffered since 1998 when the Eagles lost eight league games in a row. England Under 21 star Berahino gave the Baggies the lead on the stroke of half time before a late McAuley header killed of Keith Millen’s men.
After the spirited performance against Arsenal the Palace boys, sporting the new yellow coloured third kit, were back to their previous lacklustre ways against what was a very poor West Brom team. Julian Speroni did not have a save of any note to make in the game yet picked the ball out of the net twice as Palace’s weaknesses at the back were exploited yet again. Meanwhile at the other end of the field, despite creating a handful of chances, Chamakh and co never looked like finding the net.
There was one positive though in the stats as for the first time this season the Eagles had more possession than the opposition, a whopping 51%.
I am getting a little tired of writing about losses so instead I am throwing in some observations this week.
Gabbidon & Delaney
Tackles won between them = ZERO.
"It is not either of their faults that they are not good enough to compete at this level."
I do not need to expand on their short comings. It is not either of their faults that they are not good enough to compete at this level yet have to. It is essential that they both have to be replaced in January if we want to have any shot of staying in this division. It pains me as the two of them were integral last season and I genuinely love Damo, but there is no room for sentiment in the Premier League. One only has to look at the way Gabbidon defended the first goal to know that this is the case.
The No Shot Striker
Chamakh beats his man, he is twenty yards from goal and has a chance to let fly. Instead, he looks for a pass to Yannick Bolasie who is clearly five yards offside. Through on goal at Southampton, decides to try and round Boruc. These are just two examples of many where Chamakh has opted against shooting. Just hit the ball, man! We are shot shy enough as it is. I would rather see you sky an effort from twenty yards than give the ball away yet again.
I do not want to Chamakh bash. I think that he is probably our best player and has been often isolated this season and thus judging him on his ability to control extremely difficult balls that are launched into him is a bit harsh. And, as someone pointed out to me at the end of the game, as we got players forward in the last five minutes he was able to influence the game positively with his intricate play in and around the box.
"My main problem with Marouane is his effort."
My main problem with Marouane is his effort. Glenn Murray was isolated a lot away from home last season yet he battled, chased lost causes and helped to hold the ball in the final third when he was often outnumbered. This takes off the pressure and allows you to play several yards further up the field as a unit. Chamakh will only make an effort for the ball if it is within his general vicinity. As soon as the ball is at a distant to which he would have to make an effort to get to, he simply stops running.
Finally, at the end of the game he had to be convinced by Bolasie to come over and applaud the away support. On the grounds that you are probably the highest paid player in the history of the club, effort and respect for the fans is the bare minimum.
A bit more effort and a few more shots and you could get everyone on your side, Chamakh.
Technically this man is superb, if not a little one footed. But why oh why does he always cut back? When he runs at defenders they panic and back off, yet he refuses to be direct and it is infuriating! There have been quite a few people on the forums suggesting that Puncheon is too greedy. Weirdly, I think the complete opposite. He completed the most passes on the field yesterday with a success rate of 94%. Most of which came through him cutting back and laying the ball off instead of trying to beat a man.
I would not be surprised to see Puncheon playing as an out and out winger by whoever comes in and takes over the team. In central areas he looks a bit lost, but out wide, where he is far more comfortable, he could actually help us this season. In the middle, he is just and negative cog in the anti attack machine that is the Crystal Palace attack.
For me, along with Bannan, Guedioura has been the most positive signing so far. Losing Guedioura so early in the game was a blow for us as his energy and drive in midfield is key to the style of football that we are trying to play. His box to box nature means that he actually gets close to the lone striker and showed this early on as he latched onto a Chamakh flick on and saw his volley saved by Myhill in the West Brom goal. His injury also resulted from his ability to get into the opposition penalty area, something that we have missed this season.
Man of the Match: Joel Ward
I would have given it to Jedinak, however, his header wide when he should have scored and his losing of his man for the second goal means that Wardy takes it. It is getting a bit boring really as these two are the only legitimate candidates every match.
Up Next: Everton
One more game to try and get some structure before we go into two huge games against Norwich and Hull.
Keeping the faith since 1994.