Palace 1-0 Burnley

Sako (21)
Sat 13th January 2018
Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace’s meteoric rise up the table continued with a deserved win over high-flying Burnley. Bakary Sako, starting for the first time in the Premier League this season, scored the only goal of the game and became the Club’s top scorer. The former Wolves’ man’s rise from zero to hero perfectly mirrors Palace’s season so far.

Sean Dyche said that he felt “Burnley deserved something form the game”, but he must have been watching a different contest to me. An in-form Christian Benteke would have had a hat-trick. Two incredible blocks from Ben Mee and Charlie Taylor respectively denied James McArthur and Wilfried Zaha certain goals. Sako was unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty. The list goes on.

The victory saw Palace move five points clear of the relegation zone and now sit 12th in the league. After giving everyone else a seven-game head start, Palace have now scored more goals than six other teams and a better defence than eight other teams. Almost all the questions put to Roy Hodgson after the game was about how amazing the turnaround has been, but he still says that he refuses to look up the table while I am other here eyeing up eighth this season. With a third of the squad to come back from injury, with new players to be added this month, and with Hodgson’s tactical know-how – how can we not climb the table? What’s that? We’re Palace, and we’ll find a way to mess it up? I think not, this time.

The Problem with Wayne Hennessey

Ultimately, Wayne’s days at Palace are numbered. We will undoubtedly sign a new keeper this window and with his contract coming to an end, I doubt that he will be here next season. The problem with Wayne can be summed up by looking at his performances in this one and against Brighton.

In this game, the Wales international dominated his penalty area, communicated brilliantly with the backline and made two match winning saves from Ashley Barnes. He was everything that he should be. Rewind to Monday, he gets beat at his near post and looked to have no confidence when anything was thrown high into the penalty area.

On only four occasions has Wayne kept back to back clean sheets in his Palace career. He so rarely plays two good games in a row and that is simply not good enough. If he could find a way to play like he did yesterday for five, six or seven games in a row, the Palace fans would love him. Instead, he often ruins his previous good work by conceding a soft goal.

I never want a Palace player to fail [unless that person is Jordon Mutch] and I feel bad addressing his very good performance in this way, but with his time as the Club ending, I feel like it is as good a time as any.

Martin Kelly’s Tackle

I was in stitches at the entire passage of play. As the ball dropped to Kelly on the edge, watching him trying to get the ball out of his feet was hilarious, but he found a way to get a shot off. The block was typical of Burnley on the day, but the effort that Kelly showed to chase down the loose ball and put in a beautiful sliding tackle to win back the ball was brilliant. He then got up, and I couldn’t stop comparing him to Zaha as he carried the ball into the penalty area and the difference in grace really hit my funny bone.

Hodgson made a point of talking about how good Kelly has been since coming into the team, and it was well deserved praise.

Man of the Match: Timothy Fosu-Mensah

This was another excellent display from the youngster. He had more touches than any other Palace player on the day, made SEVEN tackles and managed to get forward on several occasions to cause Burnley problems. The kid has bags of potential and now he is showing some consistency in his performances. Joel Ward is going to have a hard time getting back in at this rate.

Up Next: Arsenal

I wish we could take the game back at home against Arsenal as we really missed an opportunity for another three points on that day. Arsenal away is a different proposition as they tend to be so good at the Emirates, but I will make the short trip with the belief that we can get something from the game – yet more testament to the job that Roy has done.

Com on you Palace!

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Michael Oliver

Crystal Palace

Palace Manager: 
Roy Hodgson


Opposition Manager: 
Sean Dyche