Palace 0-0 Burnley
Julian Speroni was the hero for Crystal Palace as he foiled Scott Arfield from the penalty spot with 85 minutes on the clock. Mile Jedinak hauled down Lukas Jutkiewicz in the penalty area but the Argentine stopper ensured that the game would finish goalless as he flew away to his left to palm the ball safe.
Whilst referee Mike Dean was correct in the award of the penalty, he was at fault for not spotting what should have been a penalty for the Eagles in the first half. Jason Puncheon’s cross travelled a long way before Jason Shackell stuck out an arm to block the cross.
"Wilfried Zaha and Dwight Gayle missed great chances to open the scoring."
The home side had created a host of chances in the opening twenty minutes as they came flying out of the blocks. Damien Delaney shot just over, Scott Dann struck the crossbar with a header before both Wilfried Zaha and Dwight Gayle missed great chances to open the scoring.
Dwight Gayle was very lucky not to get on the end of a Mile Jedinak knock down early in the second half and as the game wore on it became apparent that Neil Warnock’s men might have lived to regret no taking their chances and but for Speroni, the would have.
Low on Self Belief
I do not doubt for one moment that if we scored one of our chances in the opening twenty minutes of this game then we comfortably go on and win this game. Warnock clearly had them all pumped up for the start of the game Attilio Lombardo only knows how we did not score early on. But as the half wore on, some self-doubt started to creep in and we lost our heads.
"Early on we looked like we had a clear game plan."
Early on we looked like we had a clear game plan. Get the ball wide, run at their fullbacks and get the ball into the box. This simple style of play caused Burnley problems but when things didn’t fall for us misplaced passes started to creep in and the length of our passes got longer and longer. Resultantly we looked worse and worse as the game went on.
The first twenty minutes aside, we looked devoid of ideas and the substitutions that were made only made things worse.
Doyle for Campbell – 61st Minute: I am not suggesting that Campbell was having a stonking game. He wasn’t. However, he has more of a presence about him. He throws himself about a bit and can physically tough it out with the best of them. To take him off and replace him with Doyle didn’t seem to make sense. We immediately looked lightweight and our presence in the final third disappeared.
Bolasie for Zaha – 69th Minute: It was right to bring Yala on, although his performance was certainly not his best when he did come on, but to take Zaha was disappointing. On the few occasions that we actually managed to get him on the ball he looked dangerous, meanwhile absolutely nothing was coming off for Puncheon on the other flank.
There could be an element that Zaha was struggling physically.
Williams for Gayle – 75th Minute: I have around 472 problems with this substitution, but I will settle for listing just a few. Firstly, if we are not looking to beat Burnley then we might as well resign ourselves to the Championship right now. So, to take off a goalscorer in Gayle and replace him with a man with 2 professional goals to his name makes no sense. Secondly, if you are looking for Williams to come on and get on the ball and find the runs of your forward then fine, but you have just taken off your leading goalscorer and replaced him with a man that hasn’t played Premier League football for a considerable period out of time. Has no goals to speak of in the last year and has never played with Williams before. I think that this tells you that this is probably not going to work out.
Finally, both Williams and Doyle are short. Stupidly short. Yet we continued to launch the ball forward to them. I wanted to cry at the amount of times I saw Williams and Doyle challenging for headers with a Burnley centre back with their backs to goal.
I obviously rate Williams. I want him on the field but there is a time and a place and this was not it for me.
With each substitution we made it felt like we increasingly detracted from our chances of scoring, holding the ball in advance positions and made it more likely that Burnley would be able to apply the appropriate pressure to score. Which, in the end, they should have done.
All of our problems up top yesterday highlighted how much we missed Marouane Chamakh. His physicality, touch and vision are vital to the way that we try to play the game and with him out injured we struggled to move the ball as quickly as we can normally in advance positions. As a result Burnley found it increasingly easy to cope with what we were throwing at them.
I cannot believe that this is even a conversation that is taking place anywhere. A couple of bad games and you’re ready to sacrifice on of the main reasons that we got to and then stayed in this division?
Who are you going to replace him with? We do not have anyone else in our squad that can do what he does and just as soon as we can regain some continuity in a partner alongside him that he can trust, he will be back to his best.
Debut: James McArthur
Accurate Long Balls: 3 out of 4
Aerial Duels Won: 3
Whoscored.com Match Rating: 7.16
In amongst all this negativity, I thought that McArthur actually did alright. He can find a teammate with a pass, which is a big plus for us as our ball retention is usually horrible. If we can get to a stage where we can have Jedinak breaking up play and giving the ball to McArthur and Ledley to then pass then we will see some good things happening I am sure.
Man of the Match: Julian Speroni
I was five minutes away from giving the award to Damien Delaney, but Jules stole the show in the final minutes with his outrageous penalty save. Damo was excellent from start to finish. He always looked comfortable, he cleared up anything that came near him and he even managed to complete a few long passes. Brede Hangeland is going to find it difficult to get back into the centre of that defence. Especially if the clean sheets start clocking up again.
"But the award has to go to Julian."
But the award has to go to Julian. He had already made a very good stop from Arfield, pushing over a dipping and swirling shot but out done himself with the penalty stop. For how good Jules has been down the years, I have never been confident when he is facing penalties. But I might have to start to rethink this as more and more penalty stops are creeping in. I believe that he has now saved 3 of the last 10 that he has faced. Nothing shoddy about that.
Come the end of the season, it might just be the sort of incident that we look back on saying; “that was what kept us up.”
First twenty, excellent. Last seventy, dull. Of course, the play on the field wasn’t helping but this shouldn’t matter. We sing whatever the score. That’s what we do. When Leicester come to town in a couple of weeks everyone needs to pull their socks up and help us get back to our best.
Up Next: Everton Away
A loss on Sunday next week would see us some 8 points down on last season. If you directly replace Burnley with Cardiff we have now dropped 2 points this weekend versus out 2-0 victory over Cardiff at home last season. We have already lost to West Ham, another game we won last season and now we find ourselves going to Goodison Park where we are up against an our improbable win from last season. This means that we will have to get these points from elsewhere, which could prove difficult.
Or maybe we will produce another amazing display up there and bring back another 3 points. Who knows?
Come on you Palace!
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