Palace 0-2 W.B.A
Tony Pulis won on his return to Selhurst Park. Crystal Palace were looking to equal a club record of five straight wins in the Premier League, a record achieved by Pulis last season, but it was West Brom that would end a run of three straight defeats.
James Morrison opened the scoring in the second minute as he was given the freedom of the eighteen yard box to nod home. Palace pressed for an equaliser but Craig Gardner produced a wonder strike to put the game out of reach for the Eagles.
Palace were denied a stonewall penalty from the very disappointing John Moss in the first half and a leveller at this point would have potentially changed the overall outcome of the game but as it stood, West Brom run out deserved winners.
Alan Pardew vs Tony Pulis
It is fair to say that Tony Pulis came out on top in this one but how did he do it in such relatively comfortable fashion?
Pardew clearly over-thought things. Aware that Pulis is familiar with a majority of the Palace squad he talked pre match about wanting to spring some surprises and he did. Joe Ledley was moved to left back and Jason Puncheon consistently dropped deep to pick the ball up off the centre backs to try and dictate play. I understand what he was trying to do and in the long run having different ideas will stand us in good stead but as Pardew said after the game "things just didn't come off for us today."
We all watched Palace under Pulis last season and we all know how difficult we were to beat, especially when we scored the firs goal. From the moment Morrison headed home with less than three minutes on the clock, Pulis probably knew that the game was all but over and not just because of his teams ability to see games out.
"We still lack creativity from central areas."
In his preparation for the game he would have seen our 1-0 defeat at home to Everton this season. Everton sat deep behind the ball, were happy to concede possession and we never looked like we were going to break the Toffees down. Yesterday showed how far we have come since then as we certainly had more of a go at West Brom than we managed to against Everton, however, we still lack creativity from central areas and it will cost us against the lesser teams in this division. This lack of creativity is part of the reason that we ended up having so many pot shots from range yesterday. Pulis would have said something along the lines of "limit them to shots from range and if they score a wonder goal then so be it."
"Short corners, poor crosses, passing instead of shooting, shooting instead of passing."
Pulis also knows, attack us at your peril, defend well and execute your set plays and you have a chance at getting a result. To be fair to us, that is the way lesser teams play against the big teams so we have to take it as a compliment as to how well we are playing at the moment.
Our huff and puff yesterday did nothing to alleviate my frustration though. We were our own worse enemies at times. Short corners, poor crosses, passing instead of shooting, shooting instead of passing. It all comes out of still being relatively new to the world of having to break teams down and it will improve with time, but I wanted to keep winning so the frustration crept in despite knowing that in the long run things are all good.
Needless to say, I would rather watch us play how we are under Pardew than how we did under Pulis... although I am know hypocrite; I wasn't complaining last season when we were doing so well under Pulis. I walked away from games like that last season feeling like we did enough to win the game. We have to hold our hands up and say that we did not do enough to break them down and thus they deserved the three points.
Man of the Match: Pape Souare
He didn't have to do too much defending yesterday so he looked pretty decent. Going forward he looks very dangerous and but for Yaya Sanogo going a split second too early and getting caught offside Pape would have had an assist to his name. With hindsight, Pardew would have probably started him instead of bringing him on at half time.
Up Next: Hull City
Another ex manager comes to town in Steve Bruce. Hopefully we will fair better this time around.
Come on you Palace!