Stoke 1-0 Palace

Allen (67)
Sat 11th February 2017
Bet365 Stadium

Crystal Palace recorded a 14th Premier League defeat in 17 outings as they fell to defeat at Stoke. Joe Allen’s second-half strike was enough for the hosts as Sam Allardyce’s team managed just one shot on target in the entire match.

“I wasn’t too disappointed with the performance.”

Do you know what I really want to hear from the manager after walking back to Stoke station in the sleet, after watching my team manage just one shot on target as they whimpered to yet another defeat only to find out that the journey is going to take double the time because of train delays? I really want to hear that the performance was deemed acceptable. That is sarcasm in case the tone was lost.

Spurting that sort of shit is disrespectful, and after the way the team performed and the way that Damien Delaney and James Tomkins behaved when they walked off the pitch, I really thought that the Club’s representatives had disrespected me enough for one day. Apparently not.

If Allardyce “wasn’t too disappointed” with that performance – we are f**ked. Plain and simple.

“Respect the point, he says. Well, genius, can you explain to me why as soon as we go 1-0 down, you take off the man that had created the most goals and scored the second most goals in the team this season. Can you then tell me why you leave Christian Benteke isolated up front until just five minutes from the end? We are losing. We need to score a goal. We haven’t had a shot on target since the first ten minutes of the match. Logic dictates that you need to change the shape and bring on another striker for us to have a chance of scoring a goal.

Regardless, draws just aren’t going to cut the mustard for the rest of the season. We need wins. We cannot set up to draw 0-0. We have shit defenders and an even worse goalkeeper. We need to rely on the £32m striker, the two £12m+ wingers and Wilfried Zaha. They are the ones that will save us, not Wayne Hennessey.

Leaving the Field

Standing towards the back of the stand, mustering up all of the applause that I can for the players walking off the pitch, I was dumbfounded by what I was watching. While most of the players walked off, heads down and clapping morosely, as they should be, there were a few exceptions to the rule.

Now, maybe it is just me. Maybe you don’t see a problem with what I am about to explain. Maybe I am expecting too much from the players to be able to understand that they should be paying lip service to the fans that have all spent their hard earned money on travelling to one of the shittiest places in the country in freezing cold conditions, by behaving disappointed.

Most did. Patrick van Aanholt jumped the advertising hoardings and gave his shirt to a kid. Hopefully, the “fear” that has infected our squad will not get to the left back – although the way he defended the Stoke goal put enough fear into me - but that is another story. I have no problem with this. He is new to the team. He wants to get the fans onside, and it is a nice gesture. At least that kid will be able to remember the day in a positive light, unlike the rest of us.

Then came James Tomkins. Chest puffed out, head held high, staring at the Palace fans and making a point of not clapping. A defender that made a grand total of zero tackles in the game, walking off with his chest held high, suggesting that we are the crazy ones for being pissed off.

Then we have Delaney. After last week, why does he think that the smart thing to do is to start looking at the crowd and gesturing with his arms spread? What does that gesture mean? “OH, I suppose that was my fault as well?” “What am I supposed to do?” “I’m trying?” It can mean a whole host of different things, things that could be misinterpreted. Basically, you are going to continue to piss people off. Just walk off the pitch for crying out loud. At least Delaney managed one tackle in the match, but then again he did pick the ball up instead of launching it forward to create one last chance at an equaliser. Lump it forward when you shouldn’t, pick it up and give away a free-kick when you should. That sequence of play just about sums our season up – a complete farce.

I am sure that Sammy Lee means well. But what the f**k is he doing, standing in front of the tunnel, right in front of the travelling fans, and high-fiving every Palace player that walks off the pitch. Why are you doing that? What did they do to deserve it? Their performances were not ok. They should not be lead to believe that that was ok. Sammy Lee should be walking around the away end and high-fiving all of the lunatics that continue to turn up and watch this shit every week.

Man of the Match: Luka Milivojevic

Before touching on Luka, I have no idea what game people were watching when they are saying that Andros Townsend was our man of the match. His match consisted of shit crosses, running the ball into touch, hitting free kicks into the upper tier, shit passes and getting tackled way too easily. The clearance off the line was the only positive thing that he did.

As for Luka, I am not saying that this was the most amazing debut that I have ever seen. However, he looked calm, read the game extremely well at times and, thank God, did not look out of his depth at any point. The potential is certainly there for him to be a very good signing and I am excited to see what he will look like against Boro when he has had a couple of weeks to train with the squad.

Up Next: Middlesbrough

Another must win game. Middlesbrough have only scored eight away from home all season. Inevitably, Boro will find a way to win 3-0.

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Martin Atkinson

Crystal Palace

Palace Manager: 
Sam Allardyce


Opposition Manager: 
Mark Hughes