Palace 0-0 Newcastle
No one wants to read about a 0-0 bore draw so I am not going to dwell this week. Firstly, I’ll present you with an opening that states a couple of facts but drives you down a road that is misleading.
Selhurst Park Crisis?
Crystal Palace are still yet to score at home after failing to find a way past Rafa Benitez’s defensive tactics. The Eagles have now managed only four home Premier League wins in the calendar year of 2018.
This appears to have been the focus for many in the aftermath of the defeat, but I believe that the “home form problem” is a bit of a red herring.
Since Roy came in we have averaged 1.42 points (excluding the first match against Southampton, where he’d only had one day with the team). That is the exact number that we averaged in 2013/14 when we were adorning the Holmesdale with banners that read “Fortress Selhurst”.
We are also average 1.5 goals per game in that time, a number that rises to 1.7 goals per game when excluding the top six. In fact, we’ve only lost twice to a team outside the top 6 at Selhurst since Roy took over, both to Southampton
When looking at points per game against teams outside the top six, we’re up to 1.92 points per game! Before Roy, it was 1.38 ppg or 1.77ppg in the “Fortress Selhurst” days.
Further, since Roy took charge, we are boasting a plus goal difference at home for the first time since we were promoted to the Premier League.
Basically, the crisis is not real. We are winning more consistently against the teams we are supposed to win against. We are scoring more consistently, and we are conceding fewer goals.
The Holmesdale Fanatics to Return?
Three games don’t make a crisis. Take a deep breath, relax, and remember that the HF are back against Wolves (if the rumours are to be believed) and that will give us the edge that we have been missing in the opening part of this season.
Of course, this is speculation, but I know that I am not alone in thinking that a rocking Selhurst in the final twenty minutes of this game, and the Southampton, game would have seen us finish with more points than we did.
The atmosphere on Saturday, in terms of singing, was probably the worst I’ve witnessed at Selhurst Park since the end of the 2011/12 season. We can’t go on like that and I will be delighted if the rumours of an HF return at Wolves is true.
The HF’s consistent singing had a way of turning frustration when things weren’t quite going our way into an energy that was positive and everyone could get behind. I think to Brighton at home last season when we were under it at the end. Watford when we turned a defeat into a win on sheer force of will. West Ham when Zaha nicked a late leveller. These are but three examples where the crowd picked the players up and it has been noticeably lacking this season.
I cannot wait for the beat of the drum.
What doesn’t help is Palace missing sitter after sitter at home. With Benteke stinking up the joint against Southampton and Sakho missing a goal any proverbial comparison would have probably scored, we are reverse papering over the cracks. If they go in, we’re at least three points better off, potentially five, and we’re flying.
We haven’t become an awful team overnight. We are simply in a slight period of adjustment after losing Cabaye and Loftus-Cheek and this will take care of itself once Meyer and Kouyate have fully bedded in. Give it a chance as I am confident that Roy knows what he is doing.
Man of the Match: Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Yet another MOTM award for Aaron. I’ll stop giving it to him when someone else pulls their finger out.
Not only did he once again produce a ridiculous amount of tackles, but he showed maturity in so many other ways. When Wilf was kicking off with Kennedy, he was over there in a flash to pull them apart. When a bottle struck him on the shoulder, he just shrugged it off and got on with it.
The kid is a star.
Up Next: West Brom (A) League Cup
Another crappy away day that I thought we’d got rid of last season, but off to The Hawthorns we go. Let’s not pretend that we wouldn’t all love a league cup triumph.
Come on you Palace!