Spurs 1-0 Palace

Wanyama (82)
Sat 20th August 2016

Crystal Palace’s early season woes continued as the Eagles fell to defeat at White Hart Lane. For the second week running Alan Pardew’s men conceded late from a set piece to lose by the odd goal to nil, increasing the pressure on the manager of the South London Club.

The hosts dominated for long periods only for poor finishing to let them down on several occasions. Just as it seemed that Palace had weathered the storm, however, they fell asleep from a corner kick and paid the price as Victor Wanyama headed home a Harry Kane flick-on. Many turned to the visitor’s bench as soon as the goal went in as they had made a double substitution just before the corner was taken. Immediately conceding is perhaps resounding evidence of why teams simply do not do this.

The performance from Pardew’s men was a marked improvement on the opening day fixture against West Brom, but that is not saying much. Spurs opened up the defence at will and really should have been out of sight before the Eagles started to threaten on the counter in the second half. Yohan Cabaye sliced wide and fired over, both time after good work from Andros Townsend and Jason Puncheon saw his effort brilliantly blocked after incredible work from Wilfried Zaha down the left.

At the other end, Harry Kane fired just wide from the edge of the area and headed just wide from an excellent Delle Ali cross. Ali himself fired just over, and Vincent Janssen missed a gilt-edged chance in either half – all before Wanyama looped his header through Wayne Hennessey.

2012/13 vs. 2016/17

I can’t help but draw similarities between the season that saw us promoted to the Premier League and the start of this season. Back in August 2012 we had just come off the back of a shocking end to the 2011/12 season, winning just 3 in 22 league games, and had started awfully. Defeats against Watford, Bristol City, Middlesbrough and Preston in the League Cup had seen Dougie Freedman’s position look almost untenable.

This season we are coming off a horrendous end to last season with just two wins from 21 league games, and we have started this season with two defeats.

In 2012, much like this season, the holes in the playing staff were clear to see. If we could sign a centre back, a centre midfielder and a winger, I was confident that we could push for a Play-Off place. In came Damien Delaney, Andre Moritz and Yannick Bolasie and up the table we soared. This season I think that we are a full back, a centre midfielder and two strikers away from boasting a competitive squad.

However, this is where the similarities end for me. In 2012/13 I believed that Freedman would be able to guide the team towards the form that was needed for a promotion push. In 2016, I do not think that Alan Pardew has the guile to lead us away from the relegation places and up towards the top half of the table.

Obviously, I would love to be proved wrong. Sam Hesketh said in his piece “What is the Plan” on this site the other day; “I try my best to be patient, and a successful Pardew-Palace combination would be as enjoyable for home fans as it would be annoying for the opposition” but alas I look at his track record and only see a downward trend after an initial positive impact, and I am seeing the same thing now.

50% Pardew

Since promotion to the Premier League, Palace have played 116 games. Exactly half of those games have been with Alan Pardew in charge, so this gives us an excellent opportunity to look at his exact impact at the Club.

As we can see, Pardew has amassed 11 more points in the 58 games that he has been in charge and has managed 13 more goals in that time, while conceding four fewer goals. However, with the turmoil that preceded him – three different managers with two caretaker stints for Keith Millen – arguably the upturn is not as pronounced as we would have liked. Further, we know that his early form as Crystal Palace manager accounts for a majority of the positive sides of that record. I think that the below graph best displays his early impact versus his current slump:

After his first 19 games (half a season) in charge, Pardew was averaging 1.8 pts per game. In his last 19 games, we are looking at an average of just 0.68 points per game. I don’t need to tell anybody what that sort of form results in.

The slide has to be arrested now, and Bournemouth is probably one of the best teams in the division that we can achieve this against. A win against the Cherries (and heaven forbid that Mansion calls it the Mansion Derby) with a Christian Benteke goal will calm the nerves. A loss and the meltdown will reach cataclysmic levels and could take many of the fans to a place that is unrecoverable for Pardew.

Wayne Hennessey’s Triple Save

As soon as it happened, I had to laugh because I knew that it was going to seem like more than ever that I am getting on his back – because my opinion is that it was a complete farce!

Yes, the first shot was deflected, but the ball dribbled towards Hennessey and landed perfectly in his gloves. A Premier League goalkeeper should be holding this 100% of the time. Hennessey tried to catch it and spilled it right back into the danger area – a mistake that he has made several times already in his Palace career. He then proceeded to get back to his feet slower than the linesman who stacked it at the end of the match and was only in a position to make the save because Janssen was equally slow.

It might sound like I am harsh but I’ve had enough. The goal went straight through him. On several occasions, he refused to come for balls that any goalkeeper in the division should comfortably claim. Meanwhile, we have a world class keeper not even getting on the bench. I don’t care whether Steven Mandana can speak English or not – “KEEPERS” is the same in every language. He has to start against Bournemouth. Points are hard enough to come by as it is at the moment without our goalkeeper attempting to throw points down the drain week in week out.

Man of the Match: Damien Delaney

He dealt with Spurs crosses excellently all game long and the fact that they managed to score from a corner the moment that he went off the field does not surprise me. He defended valiantly, and I am unsure that Spurs would have scored if he was still on the pitch. Hopefully, his injury is not long term as he did leave with a boot on this foot.

Up Next: Blackpool

Before Bournemouth, we have to face Blackpool in the League Cup. Hopefully, we can fill our boots like we did against Charlton and Shrewsbury last season, with Ladapo and Anderson getting their first Palace goals under their belts.

Come on you Palace!

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Michael Oliver

Crystal Palace

Palace Manager: 
Alan Pardew


Opposition Manager: 
Mauricio Pochettino