Palace 0-2 Swansea
I have been getting a fair amount of stick across the various Social Media outlets for not writing a match report for the Swansea game, so here it is – sort of.
In my defence, this is only the second time in 7 seasons that I failed to write one. I was at Leeds Festival on the Friday and out partying until 3 am and had to be up early to get a train back for the game. I then went straight from the game to a house party/poker night for the Mcgregor vs Mayweather fight and was up until 7 am. Finally, I was awake just 3 hours later to go and spend the day at SW4 festival. I am certainly way too old for that sort of weekend and when it came to sitting down and writing about a demoralising 2-0 loss, the idea just didn’t appeal. It still doesn’t now.
Thinking back to the game now, I can’t help but see it as a game that we were unlucky in. That is not to say that we played particularly well, we didn’t, but at key points in the game, things did not go our way.
It started with the injury to James Tomkins. The centre-back found himself on the edge of the penalty area with the ball dropping to him. Tomkins may not be the last person on the Palace team sheet that one would want the ball to fall to, but he is certainly close. The former West Ham man’s effort was woeful and troubled the spectators in the White Horse Lane End corporate boxes more than it did the Swansea goal. He then dropped to the floor holding his leg and his game was over. On came Martin Kelly and from that point on, Tammy Abraham had the upper hand over the Palace defence. The Chelsea loanee bullied Kelly for the first goal in a way that I could simply not imagine him doing so to Tomkins. If Tomkins had remained on the field, the scores would have been level at the break and that would have been a decent building block for perhaps getting a first result of the season.
The goal changes the half-time team talk and whatever was discussed clearly didn’t work. Within minutes Kelly is once more making mistakes, Dann seemed disinterested in bailing him out and Hennessey wandered into no man’s land and, once there, decisiveness seemed the furthest thing from his mind. This Ayew goal is certainly up there with the worst that we have conceded since returning to the Premier League.
Yohan Cabaye entered the fray just before the hour and it was at this point that the game started to turn in our favour. Frank de Boer had switched to four at the back at half-time, a tactic that he will reportedly need to permanently employ if he plans on sticking around in South London past the Burnley game, and once the Frenchman was thrown on it became clear how integral he is going to be for de Boer. Yohan, more than anyone else, understands what the Dutch manager is trying to get across. It is not surprising as he is the only man to play what is approaching elite level football. This has seemingly been de Boer’s main downfall – believing that he can make players that were nearly relegated from the Premier League last season play way higher than their ability.
Cabaye was unlucky not to score, denied only by an incredible last ditch challenge in front of the Holmesdale, and his passing and urgency increased the teams tempo tenfold and made us look more dangerous as a result.
Playing a 4-3-3 with a fit Cabaye and a fit Wilfried Zaha will see an instant upturn in results. The only question is, will it be Frank de Boer that gets to see in this upturn?
Up Next: Burnley
It is do or die. Or maybe it is do and die anyway for Frank.