Bristol C 4-1 Palace

Taylor (34) Djuric (39) Bryan (60) O'Dowda (66)
Sako (21)
Tue 24th October 2017
Ashton Gate

A mix of Crystal Palace first and second string slumped to an embarrassing 4-1 defeat against Championship opposition in the 4th Round of the League Cup. Roy Hodgson’s men took the lead through Bakary Sako’s second goal of the season in the competition but collapsed after a Patrick van Aanholt error led to a Matty Taylor equaliser.

Despite Ashton Gate being an unhappy hunting ground for the Eagles down the years (now winless in 12 at the home of Bristol City), 2,049 Palace fans made the journey west. Many voiced their frustrations in the second half as hopes of a cup Quarter-Final, and something to cheer about in what is turning out to be a horrendous season were dashed by two efforts from range.

Roy Hodgson Post Match Comments

“I’m disappointed that a team that I put out that contained a lot of players that I haven’t seen an awful lot of, but of course were brought in by the Club to be first team players, lost a game so heavily against an opponent that I thought, especially in the first-half, we had the measure of… to some extent, I must take the responsibility of that. If the result had been the be all and end all then obviously the team that played against Chelsea and Newcastle would have played here as well, but I really wanted to see some players who haven’t had much of a look in this year… My biggest disappointment is there wasn’t enough players playing in the game tonight who have given me that headache, who have shown me that we were signed by the Club, some of them for quite big money, to be a player who is gonna make your first team or certainly put pressure on some of the other players who are there and I didn’t see much of that this evening unfortunately… it was a good night for the ten or eleven left back at the training ground and a bad night, for me, the manager and the coach of the team and a bad night for the fans, to whom I apologise for the team’s performance, and, of course, also a bad night for a few of these players who obviously think that they should be in the team, but they didn’t do enough tonight to prove it to me.”

In his first interview as Crystal Palace manager, Hodgson said to Chris Grierson:

“I think that the people here, I believe, I will have to be proven wrong, are down to Earth with their feet on the ground, they know what being a Premiership Club is, they know how hard it is to remain a Premiership Club, and they know how hard they’re going to have to work and fight and scrap to stay there.”

Based on the gaffer’s comments after the match, I believe that he has now been “proven wrong.”

Roy is known for being a “nice guy” in football, but these comments were brutally honest and do not bode well for a majority of the squad. On top of that, he is washing he hands of any real responsibility until he can bring in some of his own players in January. The problem being there is that if it is already ‘too late’, Hodgson might not get the backing that he might be expecting.

Roy is right, of course. The performance was, in the main, unforgivable. He was right to apologise to the fans. I had to take half a days holiday and didn’t get home until 3 am and had to be up at 6 am for work. Hambo, presenter of HOL Radio, who drove me back to London had to be up at 5 am for work. The absolute minimum we should be able to expect is eleven players that are putting in 100% effort.

For the opening thirty minutes, there was only one team winning this game. Palace were all over City, had taken the lead and were forcing Luke Steele into save after save before the game swung so drastically in the space of a few minutes.

Firstly, the hosts were forced into a substitution on 31 minutes. Milan Djuric replaced Famara Diedhiou and the oncoming striker’s physical presence proved too much for Martin Kelly to handle. Having the big lad up top saw City switch to a more direct style of play and on 34 minutes a simple long ball caused havoc. Patrick van Aanholt, who is challenging Jordon Mutch as one of the biggest flops in the history of the Club, had two opportunities to clear. He completely missed his attempt at a clearance on the volley before then deciding to head the ball straight into the path of the City striker, Taylor, who couldn’t believe his luck.

Five minutes later, Djuric scores after bullying the Palace back-line and the game is gone. Heads dropped all over the field and there was not a single leader to pick them up. We have Alan Pardew to thank for gutting the squad of leaders. If Mamadou Sakho is not on the field, we are a soft touch.

Bristol City then realised what so many already have, if you shoot at Wayne Hennessey, you score. He rarely makes saves and the stats back that up. He may just have played his last game for Crystal Palace as, unless Speroni gets injured or has mare after mare, I simply cannot see how he gets back in the team after conceding all but one shot that City had on target. When he finally did make a save, a shot that dribbled to him, the travelling support behind the goal ironically cheered before singing Julian Speroni’s name.

The Pape Souare Shirt Incident

Mocking Hennessey’s with Speroni’s name was not the only time that the fans tucked into the players on the night. “You’re nothing special, we lose every week” was the response to the Bristol City fans as they sang “Premier League, you’re having a laugh.”

Undoubtedly the big talking point of the evening was Pape Souare’s shirt being thrown back at him after he had thrown it into the crowd. Here is how I saw the incident:

  • A section of the HF went down the front
  • None of the players came even remotely close to the away end with the exception of Jason Puncheon and Pape Souare.
  • The HF tried to call them over, and Pape took his shirt off and threw it in before turning around and walking off.
  • What looked like a mini argument took place and the shirt was tossed back
  • Punch pointed it out to Pape who walked back, picked it up and his body language said, “what the fuck?”

Outside the ground, the suggestion was that everyone was trying to stop the perpetrator from throwing the shirt back, but he ignored them and threw it back anyway.

The fact that Pape had the balls to come over in the first place should mean that he deserves some respect. When considering what he has been through in the last year, attributing any blame to Pape is ridiculous. Thankfully, I think that Pape realises that it is not directed at him, but the entire situation that we find ourselves in.

I don’t disagree with the gesture, it is just very annoying that the shirt belonged to Pape. But, if the conversations with some of the guys from the HF outside is to be believed, then they appeared to realise that and tried to prevent it from occurring based on who it was. What I saw happen, this adds up as there was definitely some sort of disagreement occurring down the front before the shirt went back.

Hodgson, Speroni and Souare have all refused to criticise the fans on the incident. Whether this is toeing the party line or not, I think it shows the general appreciation from the Club that it, quite simply, is not good enough. Hopefully, this capitulation will mean that they all take a good look at themselves. The problem is, today Hodgson has kindly informed us that Christian Benteke is out for another 4-5 weeks. So, what can occur if they do ‘take a look at themselves’ is probably limited.

Up Next: West Ham

Recovering from a defeat in this one could be very difficult. We head to Spurs after, where we will lose, and then we would have an International Break to stew at the bottom of the league on just three points.

This is a must win – not a must not lose.

Come on you Palace!

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Tim Robinson

Crystal Palace

Palace Manager: 
Roy Hodgson


Opposition Manager: 
Lee Johnson