Palace 1-2 Man City
As disappointing, and undeserved, as the loss felt yesterday – I still find myself smiling. Below, I will go on and complain/moan about certain aspects of our performance, but I ultimately left the game yesterday proud of our little corner of the world.
The tributes paid to the victims of the Croydon Tram Crash was moving and showed the intrinsic link between the Club and the Community. I hope that this will serve to strengthen the bond between the two, a bond that has, in my eyes, been faltering with each passing Premier League season.
There was something ‘right’ about the way yesterday went. It was typically Palace. Battling against a team of superstars and giving a good account of ourselves, only to fall just short at the end. I think that only a Palace fan could understand why this was probably the perfect kind of match for us to say goodbye to the family members that we lost on the tram that morning.
RIP Dane & Tank.
Crystal Palace slipped to five defeats in a row for the second time under Alan Pardew as Manchester City left Selhurst Park with three points. Substitute Connor Wickham equalised during a spirited second-half display from the hosts only for defensive errors to once against costs the Eagles.
A comedy of errors at the back allowed the returning Yaya Toure to give the visitors the lead six minutes before the break. A poor Andros Townsend pass put makeshift full-back Martin Kelly under pressure, but there can be no excuses for the attempted clearance that followed from the Scouser. Kevin De Bruyne was the grateful recipient of shocking clearance, the Belgium international found Toure and after some link play with Sergio Aguero and Nolito the Ivory Coast international crashed his effort past Wayne Hennessey with the help of a deflection.
The, yet again, abject Townsend was hooked at half-time and replaced by Wickham and the striker found the net from the bench for the second game running twenty minutes from time. The visitors then weathered a red and (mainly) blue storm for the next ten minutes before breaking home hearts through Toure again with seven minutes left on the clock.
Defensive Woes & the Broken Record of Alan Pardew Excuses
I cannot remember the last time that we conceded a goal that wasn’t avoidable. If we had a host of new defenders then it would be simple to pinpoint the problem. However, in the main we are still boasting defenders that were drilled by Tony Pulis into a unit that were extremely difficult to score against. The defenders that we have thus proved that they know how to defend, so the problem lies elsewhere. The only place one can look is at the manager and his coaching staff – and this is evident in the build up to the Manchester City second goal.
Here is a series of pictures before the corner that City scored from. The entire time, Hennessey is pointing and asking for someone to cover the near post. I have banged on enough about me being a goalkeeper – if that is me in the same situation you will see veins popping out of my head as I am screaming at the specific person that should be defending that area. To me it looks like Hennessey is making a suggestion as opposed to giving an order, and that is appalling.
In the second picture you can see Wickham join in the pointing. He was defending the near post for the previous corner, but Benteke has since been substituted so Wickham’s height is now needed in the middle. This being the case, Chung-Yong Lee should have been sent on with the clear instructions to defend the near post from corners, or the person that should now be doing should have been instructed to do so. This is another failing.
The third picture then shows that Yohan Cabaye has finally decided to listen, only it is far too late by that point and someone with the stupidly accurate passing accuracy of Kevin De Bruyne is given an ocean of space in which to work. Then factor in the fact that we nearly dell foul to the same corner routine ten minutes earlier, it is worse than schoolboy.
Meanwhile, in the post-match press conference, Alan Pardew is telling us that conceding from set pieces is “unlike us”. Is it Alan? If it is unlike us, why were you saying the exact same thing after the Liverpool game? Why have almost half of the goals that we have conceded come from set pieces? You sound like a broken record. A broken record that is regurgitating the same inaccurate line over and over again. As I have said before, if Pardew genuinely believes that we are a team that doesn’t concede from set pieces, we are doomed.
It is also well documented now that we are the worst performing team in England in 2016. With 0.71 points-per-game we sit bottom of the 92 teams in English football. It is all very well people saying “if we sack Pardew, who else is there?” Well, if we are playing in the Championship next season, it will be a lot harder to attract a top level manager than it will be if we are trying to attract them with half a season left in the Prem and with the current squad that we have.
It has to be six points from the next three matches. If not, surely it is a simple pulling of the trigger for the board.
Man of the Match: James McArthur
Cabaye would have been close, but falling asleep for the second goal and giving the ball away a bit too much cost him. Wilf was in contention but slipped out of the game for periods. Hennessey was good but his kicking continues to let him down.
McArthur was everywhere and made it really difficult for City to play. It is laughable that he doesn’t get in the Scotland starting eleven. He should be the first name on their team sheet.
Up Next: Swansea Away
Our record at the Liberty Stadium is far from good and they are going to be buoyed by the point that they picked up at Everton this weekend. Factoring in that nothing but three points will do, we are staring down the barrel of another extremely disappointing weekend.
Come on you Palace! Please!