QPR 0-0 Palace
Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers fought out a scrappy goalless draw on Sunday with both sides feeling unlucky not to have come away with all three points. Eagles’ summer target Steve Caulker had a header cleared off the line in the second half and Julian Speroni had to be at his best to deny a thumping Leroy Fer volley from range. In the first half Jason Puncheon struck the upright with a curling effort and Palace had two big shouts for penalty kicks turned down.
Wilfried Zaha was bundled over by Richard Dunne in the penalty area in the first half and Fraizer Campbell was felled by Joey Barton in the six yard box with literally the last action of the game but Mike Jones waved away both appeals. Upon review you have certainly seen both of them given and the Eagles can consider themselves unlucky not to have been awarded at least one.
This IS a good result
“QPR have got a fantastic home record… and I thought we stood up to them” said Keith Millen after the game.
With a few minutes to go I turned to my friend Nick and said; “I really hate that a point away at QPR is a good point.” Every part of me says that we should be going there and taking the three points with ease but the fact is they are no mugs at home. 13 points from a possible 15 from their last 5 homes games is as impressive a haul as any team in any league could hope for and the fact that we were relatively comfortable goes a long way to showing how good we were on the day. It was not an amazing performance by any means but on another day with another referee it could easily have been enough for the win.
Should we have had a penalty?
It would appear that our “bad luck” is not completely linked to Neil Warnock, which is slightly worrying. Last week we have a goal wrongly disallowed at Man City for offside, meanwhile Burnley have a goal incorrectly allowed when the player was clearly offside. This is just the start of it.
For me, the Dunne on Zaha incident is a stonewall penalty. If Dunne is shoulder to shoulder with Wilf then that sort of challenge is absolutely fine, however, in the back and it is a foul and a penalty.
As for the Barton on Campbell, I would be livid if it was given against us (and the way Mike Jones was going on, if that was at the other end then it would have been given). Campbell is fouled by Barton but Campbell is not getting the ball. If he is not fouled then he runs into the goal and Rob Green still claims the ball. A foul IS committed so it technically SHOULD be a penalty but I always look at it as if it was against us would I be happy with it being given and the answer is a resounding ‘no’ in this case.
Clean sheet is a start. Now for the goals.
The importance of a clean sheet cannot be underestimated after shipping 6 goals in the last 2 games. I also do not think that it is not a coincidence that this has come after returning to our back four from the end of last season. Sure the same back four started against Southampton but we can disregard this game for many reasons, the resulting sacking of Warnock being just scratching the surface. There was a familiarity and a trust there as well as a far better understanding with the wingers, both going forward and defensively. It is the most solid we have looked for a while and I liked it.
Despite not having a recognised striker on the field we still managed to look threatening going forward on occasions. A little strengthening in the forward area is going to happen in January, even if that is just Glenn Murray returning at the least, so I am confident that we will start to put the ball in the back of the net in due course.
In the weeks before we went on our 5 game winning run last season we were struggling to hit the back of the net despite creating decent chances, just like this season. I remember saying after losing 1-0 at Newcastle last season that someone was due a battering. It could easily have been Chelsea in the following game as we created a laundry list of chances but it came in the following week against Cardiff when we smashed three past them. I feel the same at the moment so fingers crossed, Aston Villa might just be in for a hiding on New Year’s Day.
Both in the Southampton match report and on Holmesdale Radio on Saturday night (December 27th) I said that in recent weeks he has gone from the best centre back we have had at the club since Craig Moore to consistently making mistakes. I speculated that this was down to him not believing in Neil Warnock. Warnock leaves and once again he looks imperious. If there is one area of that team that Warnock clearly lost then it was the defence and I think that their stoic performance yesterday goes some way to proving this theory.
Charlie Austin had scored in QPR’s last five home games yet looked completely useless against our back line. I kept forgetting that he was on the field he was so ineffective!
It’s great to have you back, Scott.
Man of the Match: James McArthur
Ran his heart out again and all but singlehandedly rescued the point with his clearance off the line. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again; an absolute snip at circa £5m.
Strangely many, including newspapers, Wayne Hennessey etc, gave their man of the match to Joe Ledley. It was like he was doing his best Mile Jedinak impression of winning the ball only to infuriatingly give it away again! In these areas Mile was far superior on the day.
Once again this shows that every person can see a game of football very differently!
Up Next: Aston Villa
The big games are coming thick and fast. A repeat of last season’s result would be very welcoming!
Come on you Palace.