Palace 1-2 Arsenal
Crystal Palace came within the width of a post of overturning a 0-2 deficit to take what would have been a very deserved point at Selhurst Park. Two dubious first half Arsenal strikes gave the visitors a two-goal cushion at the break. Santi Cazorla converted an eighth minute penalty kick after Pape Souare felled Danny Welbeck, however, the foul did appear to take place just outside the area.
The England striker was in the thick of the action again just before the break as he was clearly offside when breaking through on goal. His shot was saved by Julian Speroni but the rebound dropped straight to the feet of Olivier Giroud who had the simple task of tapping home.
The 0-2 scoreline was unreflective of proceedings at the break just as the 1-2 final scoreline was. Crystal Palace boasted 10 more attempts than the Gunners, 9 more corners and more possession but were poor when it came to the final touch.
As the game ticked past the 90-minute mark, Arsenal looked to have successfully held on to their clean sheet only for Glenn Murray to score his first goal of the season, stabbing home after a huge scramble in the six-yard box. With only seconds remaining though it seemed that it was too little too late for Pardew's men.
Instead, Yannick Bolasie got away down the left and whipped in a beautiful cross. David Ospina flew out of his goal to try and block the ball but missed and in behind him Murray managed to get his head onto the ball. The stadium seemed to fall silent as the ball went goalwards but instead of hitting the back of the net the ball cannoned back off the post and into the grateful hands of Ospina where he clutched onto the ball and the three points.
Zaha - Murray - Bolasie: Is it that simple?
After showing next to no composure in front of goal for the majority of the game, all of a sudden Glenn Murray is thrown onto the pitch and sees a header luckily saved, scores and hits the post, all as a result of crosses into the box.
During the 90 minutes we put 51 crosses into the penalty area of which only 11 were successful. Murray is on the field for only 12 minutes and accounts for 3 of those 11.
On the 12/13 Promotion DVD Yannick Bolasie talks about Murray reading his crosses like no one else he had ever played with. Wilfried Zaha echoed these thoughts. After keeping faith with Speroni, Delaney, Ward, Bolasie and Jedinak last season. Players that were key in the promotion season yet completely unproven at Premier League level, is it not time we show a little bit of faith in Murray?
His 31 goals got us promoted to this league and a large percentage of those goals came from him getting on to crosses into the box. Since Pardew took over at Palace, in the league, we have averaged 30 crosses a game. In the six games leading up to Pardew’s first match in charge we averaged 20 crosses a game. If we going to continue getting balls into the box from wide areas in this increased frequency then I know who I want in the middle trying to get on the end of them.
Since we have been back in the Premier League our record when Mark Clattenburg has "officiated" our matches is: P6 W0 D2 L4. I am not suggesting that this in unmitigated proof that he has something against us but I believe it goes some of the way towards showing that his decision favour the opposition.
The penalty decision in the Spurs match that lost us the game on the opening game of last season was just the start. Allowing Craig Dawson's, the West Brom defender, elbow on Speroni, missing a blatant Palace penalty, somehow letting Sebastien Pocognoli getting away with three cynical fouls on the edge of the box and then wrongly awarding West Brom a last minute penalty.
Then to yesterday, the first time he has taken charge of a Palace game since he allowed the Dawson assault on Speroni, and we get another penalty wrongly awarded against us and his assistant, who was also his assistant in all of those other game (so we should probably add him to the hate list as well), misses a clear offside for the second Arsenal goal.
Man of the Match: Jason Puncheon
What a performance from Jason Puncheon. Playing out of position in central attacking midfield the man looked like he had been playing there his entire career. The way he used the ball was often expert. He drove us forward when he had the space to and he got the ball wide when the wingers were in one on one positions with their fullbacks. It was like watching an American Football quarterback the way he distributed the ball.
It will be interesting to see in the coming weeks if Alan Pardew decides to play him through the middle again on the back of this performance.
Again, nothing to write home about. Splatterings of stadium-wide noise, but in the main it never really got going.
What was nice to see was the Holmesdale Fanatics display receiving such widespread and positive reviews.
Up Next: West Ham
It is hard to know what you're going to get with the Hammers at the moment. After letting a 2-0 lead slip against Spurs today they will be wanting to bounce back, but with the positive ending to this match perhaps we can take that momentum in to Upton Park and get back in the win column.
Come on you Palace!