Palace 1-0 Stoke
Crystal Palace advanced to the 5th Round of the FA Cup in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1983 after a battling victory over Premier League rivals Stoke City. Wilfried Zaha scored the only goal of the game after 17th minutes, running through the heart of the Potters defence before putting the ball through the legs of Jakob Haugaard.
Both sides failed to make the best of some great attacking positions and the game certainly deserved more than one goal.
Clattenburg officiates a Crystal Palace match and here I am again having to write about yet another inept display from supposedly the best referee that English Football has to offer.
As much as they anger me, I can get over decisions like not awarding a red card for Marc Wilson when he hacked down Fraizer Campbell 35 yards from goal. Wilson was almost certainly the last man but Campbell still had a decent amount of ground to cover before getting his shot away so I can understand why he awarded just a yellow, even if I did think it was a red card.
"What I can’t get over is that he endangers the safety of the players on the field"
What I can’t get over is that he endangers the safety of the players on the field by allowing players to get away with career threatening challenges. Before Stephen Ireland had attempted to break Yohan Cabaye’s ankle, he had already attempted to stamp on Joe Ledley, right in front of Clattenburg, but play was waved on. If the Welshman had not managed to pull his leg out of the way, he would have been joining Yohan on crutches by the end of the day.
With the referee effectively giving Ireland the freedom to fly into tackle with unnecessary force he then went flying in on Zaha before going in two-footed, studs up on Cabaye.
The worst thing about it is that Clattenburg started making ball shapes with his hands to suggest that Ireland had played the ball. Even if he had played the ball, the rules clearly state that he is not allowed to jump in with both feet and studs up. It is straight red card no matter which way you look at it
"Clearly he had seen a replay at half time and realised that he got it wrong, again, but it is too late"
At the start of the second half Clattenburg went straight over to Ireland and had a word with him. Clearly he had seen a replay at half time and realised that he got it wrong, again, but it is too late. Cabaye has already left the match, his absence allowed Stoke to get back into the game as they gained control of the midfield as Mile Jedinak and Jordon Mutch tried to adjust to being thrown on at the break and now Cabaye could be missing for an extended period of time, further affecting Palace’s ability to win football matches.
I wrote to the FA about Clattenburg when Craig Dawson assaulted Julian Speroni in 2014 (read that here), but got back a nonsense response, backing Clattenburg to the hilt despite the fact that everyone knows that he was wrong.
What speaks volumes about the FA stubbornly protecting their officials, even in the face of such horrendous judgement calls, is that there is no video footage anywhere of the tackle. It is the major talking point of the game and there is nothing to be seen. It is just a matter of time until Clattenburg indirectly ends a player’s career and the FA must share responsibility for ignoring all of the warning signs that are glaringly obvious.
I feel for Puncheon so much. I watched him closely at the game yesterday and you could see that he was close to tearing his own hair out with each passing misstep. It makes no sense. You do not simply go from being the player that he was at the end of last season to the player that can barely do anything right that he currently appears to be.
Does Alan Pardew leave him out there to play through it? Should he give him a rest? I trust in Pardew to handle the player and really hope that he can find a return to form soon.
Either way, congratulations on your 100th appearance for the Club, Punch.
Man of the Match: Wilfried Zaha
End product! The run, the skill and the finish were all perfect and leaves me wondering as to just when we will start to see this on a regular basis. I am still utterly convinced that it will all click for him one day and fingers crossed that this is the start.
It was not just the goal, he should have had two assists if it was not for Scott Dann somehow not managing to put the ball in the back of the net when a yard out and for Marouane Chamakh deciding to pass when shooting would have almost certainly yielded a goal.
Who next in the FA Cup?
"I've said it before: lesser teams than the quality I have have won this competition in recent years. We've got the talent to win it, you need a bit of luck with the draw: we don't need Man City away, we don't need Chelsea away, someone at home would be nice” said Pardew.
"I'm always conscious of this competition, I've come so close on two occasions, that it's a strong bond in me to try and win it. This team is every bit as good as that (West Ham) team I took to that final in 2006, but you do need a break here and there."
Up Next: Bournemouth
This is huge game in my eyes. A loss in this match could really see the fans start to lose faith in this season. A win, followed by a win against Watford and we will be looking back up the table. It is the difference between a season that could truly be one to remember versus a season that, league wise, could simply fizzle out to mid table disappointment.
Cone on you Palace!