Palace 0-1 Wolves
A brief one today I am afraid. Busy, busy.
Crystal Palace are still goalless at Selhurst Park this season as newly promoted Wolves took all three points back up north. Despite boasting 67% possession, more efforts and more efforts on target, the hosts could not find a way past Portuguese stopper, Rui Patricio leading to boos at the full-time whistle.
Wolves allowed us to have the ball, safe in the knowledge that it would have to take a moment of brilliance to open them up. It was all too predictable from Palace with zero creativity coming from the middle of the park and with Wilfried Zaha out of sorts, it was all too easy for the visitors.
In the previous match report, I talked about Bournemouth easily reading our patterns of play which allowed Nathan Ake to always be one step ahead of Jordan Ayew. This was once again the case as the back three of Wolves coped with the Swansea loanee with consummate ease.
We had joy down the flanks on the odd occasion, but without a goalscorer in the middle, it often saw a potential chance go begging. Zaha drilled a delightful ball across the face of goal only for Ayew to react slower than a Roy Hodgson sub.
When the big chance finally did arrive, it fell to Jeffrey Schlupp. Max Meyer, who was finally introduced to the match after an hour after starting on the bench to the bafflement of most, hit a picturesque volley which Patricio could only parry out into the middle of the goal. Schlupp only had to divert the ball either side of the prone goalkeeper but hit it straight at the man between the sticks. Then, with practically the last kick of the game, Zaha let fly with goalbound effort only for Sorloth to get in the way. Blocking our own shots has become a trend of late.
Meyer on the Bench
Roy said that the decision to play Schlupp instead of Meyer “didn’t need explaining,” a sentiment that was not shared by most of the Palace faithful.
I’ve actually had a couple of people try to tell me on Social Media that Schlupp was one of the positives on the day. Football is a game of opinions I guess, but it is an opinion that I cannot get on board with.
Every time he has played this season in a 442 he has looked completely lost. His movement is amateur, his willingness to run is far from where it should be and his decision making on the ball is often shocking.
Meyer then comes on and immediately starts pulling the strings and nearly dragged us kicking and screaming towards a result that, come to the end of the game, we probably wouldn’t have deserved.
I hope that Roy heeded the boos at half-time. A lot of people talk about him being a “dinosaur” and I desperately don’t want that it to be true. But, if he continues to field out of form players such as McArthur and Milivojevic over Meyer and Kouyate, who clearly give us more urgency when they are on the field, then it’s a label that might start to stick.
Patrick van Aanholt and Defending
When the goals are flying in at the other end, it is easy to overlook his positional lapses. When the goals are nonexistent and the matches are tight, it becomes all too painful to watch when he goes chasing around the ball like a kid into an area that is already crowded with Palace players instead of tracking his man.
Do some defensive bits, please.
The Welsh stopper bailed PVA out at Bournemouth with a great save to deny Callum Wilson and he had made a great stop in the first-half from a similar one on one situation. Unfortunately, he was unable to bail the Dutchman out this time and was shockingly beaten at his near post which had all the haters returning in force.
It has always been the problem with Wayne, there is always a disastrous goal just around the corner.
Man of the Match: Aaron Wan-Bissaka
It was far from his best game and his phenomenal 7 tackles in the game mostly came about from him having to recover his own poor passes. However, he never tired in trying to get forward to get something for the team whilst also protecting us at the other end.
No defender averages more tackles per 90-minutes than Wan-Bissaka in the Premier League and only two defenders out tackle him in the whole of Europe. The difference between Wan-Bissaka and these other two defenders is the number of fouls committed. Aaron (7 games) has committed just TWO fouls in his seven games this season. One he was sent off for and the other he saw yellow. Meanwhile, Nacho (8 games) of Real Valladolid has committed 11 fouls and Adama Mbengue (4 games) of Caen has committed 8 fouls.
A lot of people seemed surprised that he wasn’t selected for the England team with so many youngsters getting called up to the latest squad. The problem for Aaron is that England are stacked at right back. The other youngsters are all playing in positions where England are ageing or are weak, so it might be some time before he gets recognition at senior level.
Up Next: International Break
A much-needed break before a run of horrible fixtures. We’ve been abject against the “smaller” teams, let’s hope we can turn it on against the “bigger” teams.
Come on you Palace!