Palace 3-1 QPR
Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace blew Queens Park Rangers in the first half at Selhurst Park. Three goals, including two in two minutes just before the break, were more than good enough for the three points and plunged Chris Ramsey’s men deeper into relegation trouble.
After a cagey start from the hosts the game suddenly come to life. Scott Dann missed the target with two headers within a minute just before Yannick Bolasie burst away down the left flank, latching on to a Glenn Murray pass. His pace easily saw him clear of the QPR back line and his cross was met at a sliding Wilfried Zaha at the back post to open the scoring. The cross had just evaded Jason Puncheon and both he and the scorer ended up colliding with the post. Both recovered from the incident but were both substituted injured in the second half.
This breathed confidence into the Eagles and QPR were often bamboozled by the brilliance of the Murray, Zaha and Bolasie.
"Once again Bolasie was given the freedom of Selhurst Park."
The second goal came five minutes before the break as once again Bolasie was given the freedom of Selhurst Park. Joe Ledley spread the play with a lovely curling pass and once more the winger was one on one with his full back. He easily breezed past Darnell Furlong and this time his low centre found a sliding James McArthur.
With the Palace fans still celebrating doubling the lead Zaha broke away down the right and occupied three QPR players with a host of step overs and skills. Joel Ward glided into the space left in the middle and Zaha found the full back who curled the ball into the far corner to score his first goal for the club, in his 98th appearance.
QPR made changes at the break and Palace were forced into substitutions from injury and the game looked to be on cruise control to the final whistle only for Matty Phillips to score one of the best goals you will see this season. A mere five yards past the centre circle he let fly with a swerving and dipping shot that flew over Julian Speroni and into the top corner via the underside of the crossbar.
Murray – Zaha - Bolasie
Match of the Day rightly lavished the three of them with praise after the match and said “they won Palace the game”; they were not wrong.
"People have questioned whether or not Murray can actually do it at this level and he is beginning to prove that he can."
People have questioned whether or not Murray can actually do it at this level and he is beginning to prove that he can. Both against West Ham and QPR he has been imperious as the lone striker. Occupying the entire back four on his own and bringing Zaha and Bolasie into play are his strengths and it is ideal for our style of play. Sure there was no goal yesterday but his link up play was exceptional in the first half, playing a big part in the first goal and but for a brilliant block from the much maligned Steven Caulker he would have found the net after controlling on his chest and smashing a volley towards the corner.
"As for Zaha, this was probably his best performance since returning to the club."
As for Zaha, this was probably his best performance since returning to the club. It took the goal to get him going but once he had scored he looked unstoppable and once more had the Palace fans singing, “He’s just too good for you!” The nutmeg on Karl Henry was glorious and the assist for the Ward goal was laughable in the ease in which he beat the three QPR players trying to stop him. As long as his injury is not too bad, I can see some conversations in the next few weeks taking place around what a massive mistake Manchester United have made in their handling of his talent. Sure he has to do it against a team of a higher standard than QPR but I am confident that he will.
More on Bolasie later.
QPR Bad or Palace Good?
On the Match of the Day commentary Jonathan Pearce said “If QPR play like they have in the last 20 minutes they will have a chance of staying up.” Unfortunately for them this is an unrealistic measure. At this point Zaha and Puncheon were both off the field. If they had not suffered injuries it would have more likely been 6-0 as opposed to 3-1. Due to further injuries we played most of the second with Adrian Mariappa in centre midfield and, nothing against Mariappa, this is not a realistic measure of a realistic Premier League midfield competitor and therefore their improved performance later on is not something they should be hanging their hat on.
At half time Ranger bought on Clint Hill to play centre back. As Dave Moore said to me at the time of the substitution; “if Clint Hill is the answer, the question is diabolical.”
I have seen a worse team than QPR this season in Aston Villa but I saw nothing yesterday to suggest that they have enough to stay up. They played with Henry and Sandro in centre mid in an attempt to battle it out with Ledley and McArthur but they were overrun with ease and arguably both of them should have been sent off as they overstretched in tackles time and time again as they struggled to keep up with play.
So, yes QPR were bad but that is not to take away how good we were in the first half. ‘You can only beat what is put in front of you’ as they say. Beat them we did and beat them well.
Man of the Match: Yannick Bolasie
Scott Dann or Wilfried Zaha could easily be considered here as well. Dann for the blasted volleyed pass out wide in the second half if nothing else.
Yannick has to take the award for me. He was not in the game as much as he usually is, however, when he was it was to devastating effect. Since his return from the African Cup of Nations there has been a marked improvement in his decision-making and output and the assists/key passes are starting to come on a more regular basis. Think the cross for the Campbell equaliser versus Newcastle, the cross for Murray to hit the post versus Arsenal. These are balls that he was just not producing before his trip away.
With Bolasie and Zaha both in form, we all know what can happen and I do not think that it will be any different just because we are in the Premier League.
Yannick Bolasie Game Stats:
- 2 Assists
- 6 Key Passes
- 0 Dispossessed
*Stats courtesy of whoscored.com
Atmosphere – HF Protest
Yesterday was a very strange atmosphere at Selhurst Park as the Holmesdale Fanatics protested against the use of the newly installed camera’s at the stadium in the aftermath of the two coin throwing incidents. On arrival into the lower tier of the Holmesdale Road end there was a letter on display from the HF (below in full):
Notice to Palace Supporters
Following recent incidents of objects being thrown onto the pitch after opposition players celebrated in front of the Holmesdale, new HD CCTV cameras have been installed inside the ground. These measures have been advocated on the basis that they will help target criminal actions, such as coin throwing. However, they have recently been used to target supporters on more dubious grounds.
Stewards now also have their own body camera and were seen wading into the block for the first time in a number of seasons during the Arsenal game. Their attempt to film supporters who were jumping around during lively moments in the game were excessive, causing unnecessary confrontation. In addition to new measures, the Met Police continue to film sections of the Holmesdale from a position in the corner of the Arthur Waite stand.
It is asserted that these increased measures have been implemented to monitor criminal activity, following incidents of coin throwing. However, there has been new that supporters in Block B have received letters from the club, stating that they have been filmed on the new CCTV system during the Arsenal game and banned for the remainder of the season for “moshing”.
The bans have been issued by Adrian Roberts on behalf of the club. Supporters may remember Adrian from his 30 years’ service in the Police force, several of which were spent being Superintendent policing Palace fans. He is now employed by CPFC as head of stadium security, being the man behind the controversial measures imposed on Palace supporters in the past, such as the 8 foot tall steel wall that was used to block supporters from walking down Park Road against Brighton, with him deeming it “a success”.
Unfortunately we were unable to arrange a meeting with the club prior to today’s game, as we would like to raise supporter concerns and the bans issued and the agenda behind them. Therefore we will be keeping a lower profile than normal today and a few aspects to our style of support will be missing, to avoid any further unnecessary bans. However, we will continue to support the players and manager, with our aim being to arrange a meeting with the club to discuss and resolve these concerns as well as ensure that issues are dealt with in a proportionate rather than arbitrary manner.
A ban for “moshing” is absolutely ridiculous. Everyone who is in that section of the stadium is well aware of what to expect when they enter their seats. They know that people bounce around and know that people jump all over each other so I fail to see how this is a concern for stadium security.
If you look wider, the HF are a group of fans that on several occasions have protested against the way that the Premier League is run. They are bad press for the product and if the Premier League had it their way they would not want them in the stadium. I would also imagine that the Premier League do not like the fact that the club allows them to showpiece such displays either.
The cynic in me would suggest that someone has had a word with the club and said something along the lines of; ‘you’ve been given an opportunity with the coin throwing, use it to quiet them down a bit”. Of course, that is mere speculation.
Further speculation on my part and look at Adrian Roberts. He may be telling the club how difficult it is to manage the fans at Selhurst Park because of the Ultra element. However, before the coin throwing there was nothing that could justify this argument. Now he has been given a chance to shine and justify his salary by putting some numbers in front of the club and saying ‘look at what a great job I am doing’.
I was a little disappointed with the Palace fans around me. I stand in Block B but a lot further back that the HF. From all around Palace fans were being critical of the protest, singing songs at the HF. The irony behind the chant “we’re only here for the Palace” was not lost on me as they were singing this at the HF and not the team, singing a song that is having a go at the HF for not getting behind the team.
What do these Palace fans want them to do? Continue to support then club in the style that they do and all get banned? What then? Back to the atmosphere in the five years or so before the HF arrived? F**k that. Yes the back of Block B used to be noisy in the late 90’s but then it all went to pot. Without the HF doing what they do you end up with a stadium that is silent half the time. Just look at yesterday. QPR fans were singing; “Is this a library?’ QPR fans?! The biggest joke club going are mocking our fans? The so-called pride of English football?
What happens when the cameras are used to ban the bloke a few rows behind me that smokes a spliff in each half of every game or the bloke that is getting smashed on whiskey out of his flask? They were two people that were being outwardly spoken against the HF yesterday yet they are the ones committing ACTUAL crimes.
The coin throwing, once from someone in the HF area (Liverpool) and once not (Newcastle) were rare occurrences. The last time this happened was in 2010 (Watford). All of these times have been as a result of the away players celebrating goals in front of that section; an act that many will see as provocation and it is a fact of life that provocation will often bring out the worst in people.
Like the HF or not, their protest was valid yesterday and it should have been backed by Palace fans in my opinion instead of abused in such a fashion from the people around me. Many of which are far from angels and might one day fall fail to such overzealous policing of football stadia in England.
Up Next: Stoke
Their good run came to a halt against West Brom, but Pulis is working his magic there and this can no longer be considered an awful result. It will be a tough affair but I fancy us away from home against anyone at the moment and can see us coming away with the points. As long as it is a better match than the debacle at home earlier this season though, I will be happy.
Come on you Palace.