Palace 0-0 Man Utd
Alan Pardew demanded a reaction from his players after the midweek thrashing at Manchester City and he got one at Selhurst Park against their vanquisher’s rivals, Manchester United. All that was missing from a near faultless performance against Louis Van Gaal’s men was the goal that would have earned the Eagles a deserved three points. Instead they had to settle for a single point, a scenario that has occurred only once before since Pardew arrived from Newcastle just under ten months ago.
Asides from a ten minute period midway through the first half, Crystal Palace looked by far the more likely to score. Dwight Gayle twice tested David de Gea in the first half and the Spanish stopper pulled off an excellent instinctive save to deflect a bouncing thunderbolt from Yannick Bolasie on to the crossbar. The United keeper was then called into action again from the resulting corner as he tipped over a Scott Dann header.
Wayne Rooney had the visitors one shot on target after 24 minutes – a free kick that was comfortably saved by Wayne Hennessey in the Palace goal.
"The biggest chance of the game came on 71 minutes and it fell to Palace top scorer, Yohan Cabaye."
The biggest chance of the game came on 71 minutes and it fell to Palace top scorer, Yohan Cabaye. Bolasie held the ball up well on the edge of the box and slipped in Joel Ward down the right. The full back, who was returning after an extended period out through injury, whipped in a delightful cross but the French international made a hash of his contact and the ball dribbled just wide of the upright from just six yards out.
Ashley Young, who had come on to replace Matteo Darmian to prevent him from picking up an inevitable yellow card as Wilfried Zaha terrorised him, put in a brilliant last ditch tackle to deny Bolasie a clean run at goal but the ball dropped to Gayle only for the striker to once again find de Gea in unbeatable form.
As the minutes rapidly ticked towards 90, Scott Dann headed a corner goalwards. Damien Delaney climbed at the back stick and was a millimetre from making the contact that would have given Palace the winning goal. Replays showed that Marcos Rojo had a fistful of Delaney’s shirt, which prevented the Irishman from reaching the ball but it seems that ABH would need to occur for Palace to get a spotkick at the moment.
Manchester United subs walking off at a canter to waste time, play acting when down to waste a little more – the fact that the “mighty” Manchester United were having to resort to these antics shows just how good Palace were on the day. If only the Eagles could find a way to perform like this consistently at Selhurst Park.
Alan Pardew back to his in-game best
Spotting that Martin Kelly and Joel Ward needed to be switched to prevent Kelly seeing red. Bringing off Cabaye, after the referee had spoken to Cabaye with Captain Delaney present, again to prevent a red card – learning from the mistake of not bringing off Murray at Upton Park last season in similar circumstances.
Well done, Super Al.
Dwight Gayle channelled his inner Glenn Murray
After the debacle that was the West Ham game at home, it is clear that Gayle has taken a long hard look at himself in the mirror and this showed in the considerable upping of his performance.
He consistently beat the two United centre backs in the air, despite giving up several inches on both, and consistently offered the midfielders an option of a pass – an outlet that we have been missing so much since Connor Wickham last played back in August.
On another day he scores one of his three half chances and wins the game for us.
One step at a time though.
Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha as Wingers
What a novel concept!
Of course we played with the two as wingers during the week and the outcome was very different, however, they still provided the service that should have seen as score more than the one that we did at the Etihad in midweek.
To be fair to Zaha, he has been holding his width whenever he has played but Bolasie, obviously by instruction, has rarely been seen giving full backs a torrid time like last season. Watching him dance around Rojo time and time again in this one was exciting and exactly what I want to see from Yala. Please Pards, desist with the idea that he can play centre forward and let him do what he does best.
Referee: Mr M Jones
Yes, I have to moan about a referee again.
"Jones came sprinting over like a kid running towards his presents on Christmas day"
Anthony Martial roasted Martin Kelly in the first half and the Palace fullback chopped down his man. Jones came sprinting over like a kid running towards his presents on Christmas day and produced a yellow card. Exuberance aside, he was right to show the card.
Moments later Zaha roasted Darmian, Darmian chopped Zaha down. Jones gave the free kick, strolled over to where the free kick was to be taken and marked out his foam line on the ground and then got into position for Palace to take the free kick. The same start to the story, two very different endings.
Telling Morgan Schneiderlin that he had one more chance before he was booked, then letting him hack down Bolasie and not book him. I could go on...
Man of the Match: Scott Dann
A colossus at the back and a threat from set pieces. Roy Hodgson was in attendance and he watched his supposed number one striker in Wayne Rooney get owned by Dann and if this performance was not enough to get him the international recognition that he deserves, especially in the light of the injury to Phil Jagielka, then Hodgson is as clueless as he looks.
Up Next: Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp and his boys joined the ever growing list of teams to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this season and thus will be full of confidence going into this one. Further, they Reds will be seeking revenge for royally screwing up Steven Gerrard’s leaving party last season. Underdogs – just how we like it.
Come on you Palace.