Palace 0-2 Burnley
Crystal Palace’s generous nature returned on Saturday as Burnley won away from home for the first time in the Premier League this season. Ashley Barnes and Andre Gray scored the goals that saw Burnley win for the first time in London in the top flight since 1975.
A combination of injuries, tiredness and yet more poor refereeing saw the visitors to a relatively comfortable afternoon. With Palace down to the bare bones in the centre of defence, an exhausted looking midfield, an incorrect linesman’s flag robbing Palace of a Burnley red card and the referee turning down a stonewall penalty – it was never going to Sam Allardyce’s afternoon.
Exhaustion Played its Part
Through the month of April Palace have averaged a game every four days. It showed. Joel Ward, Christian Benteke, Andros Townsend, Wilfried Zaha and Luka Milivojevic looked exhausted. Patrick van Aanholt and James McArthur possessed the rust of two players returning from injury, with the latter having by far his worst game in a Palace shirt. I love McArthur, but in the early knockings of Allardyce’s reign, I am struggling to see where he fits in. Unless he finds a way to adapt, the days of the Scot being one of the first names on the team sheet are gone.
When playing so many games in such a short space of time, the depth of the squad is important. Damien Delaney is, I am sad to say, over the hill. In the past two seasons, when I thought that it would surely be the case, he found ways to still perform in the Premier League. This season, almost every single time he has stepped on the pitch he has struggled. If you’re getting the run around from Sam Vokes and Barnes, your days are numbered.
On top of that, Fraizer Campbell, for all of his effort, is not a Premier League striker and Loic Remy is pointless until he can stay fit for more than 10 minutes – which will not happen during his time at Palace.
Is Relegation a Genuine Worry?
As well as we have been doing against the teams at the top, I struggle to see us picking anything up at either of the Manchester clubs. We are then left with the visits of Hull to Selhurst, where are performances against relegation rivals have been far from stellar:
- Sunderland: Lost
- Middlesbrough: Won
- Swansea: Lost
- West Ham: Lost
- Burnley: Lost
So, there is an argument to be had for us not picking up any more point this season. This means looking to Hull and Swansea and seeing if the two of them can overhaul the gap between us.
Swansea have three more games and would need to claim 7 points:
- Everton (H)
- Sunderland (A)
- West Brom (H)
To me, that is a minimum of 6 points. They will beat Sunderland, and you can bet your bottom dollar that, if Swansea still have a shot of overtaking us on the last day, Tony Pulis will be throwing in the towel in a bid for revenge against Steve Parish. So it is all on the game against Everton next weekend. If the Toffees can win, we are safe – assuming City don’t tank us 15-0.
As for Hull:
- Sunderland (H)
- Palace (A)
- Spurs (H)
Hull need 5 points to overhaul us, but they could easily pick up as many as 7. Sunderland are cannon-fodder, our home record is awful against teams at the bottom, and we can probably assume that Spurs will have nothing to play for on the final day, while Hull will still be scrapping for their lives – and their manager has an uncanny knack of not losing home games.
I would love to be able to say that it will all be over next weekend. True to form, Everton will roll Swansea over, and we can all relax for the last couple of games. But this is Palace, and it never seems to be that easy.
Quite simply, we are going to have to find a way to pick something up in the Hull match – or we might have another Oldham situation on our hands.
I am not going to get into them again. Their awful decisions were plain for all to see. “We always get shit refs” rings true at the moment.
The Lighter Incident
I feel for the Burnley player that took the lighter in the head – mainly because it should have been Barnes that wore it.
Joking aside, I weirdly respect Barnes. He clearly hates us from his Brighton days. Celebrating in front of us by cupping his ears shows that he respects the rivalry between Palace and Brighton as he has continued it beyond his Brighton career – and for that I respect him.
Man of the Match: Wilfried Zaha
Tried his best to make something happen and should have had a penalty and sent Tom Heaton to an early bath.
Up Next: Manchester City
I hate going there.
Come on you Palace!