Palace 1-0 Leicester
After fourteen straight Premier League losses without Wilfried Zaha in the team, Crystal Palace finally won without their talisman. A first-half strike from range from Serbian skipper, Luka Milivojevic, was enough to see off Claude Puel’s Leicester City on a wet afternoon at Selhurst Park.
There is nothing more gratifying than the whole crowd yelling “SHOOOT” and the player obliging and sticking it in the back of the net.
Since February 2017, no one has scored more goals for Palace than Luka. He now has fifteen goals in that time, one more than the absent Wilfried Zaha.
With our lack of goals this season, we need to be trying to create opportunities for Luka to shoot from that sort of range. His right boot is lethal and will be key for the rest of this season.
What does make me laugh is that Andros Townsend gets an assist for the goal. He now has two assists for the season, this and one for James McArthur’s cross come shot against Burnley. I suppose the work from Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Townsend down the right did create the space for Luka to shoot, so I suppose I’ll give him this one. One thing that is sure, we need more.
Vicente Guaita takes his chance
For a moment in the first half, it looked like the Spaniard’s league debut for the Club would follow the same direction of goalkeeping legend, Julian Speroni. On his home debut, Speroni attempted to dribble around Kevin Campbell and ended up giving away a penalty. It took the Argentinean years to live it down.
The Palace number 31 received a back pass from Luka and all seemed well. Being used to playing out from the back, Guaita took a slightly heavy touch and Jamie Vardy was on him like a flash. Thankfully, the stopper just managed to get his body in between Vardy and the ball and drew the foul.
For the rest of the game, there was not much to do for the debutant. A weak Vardy header was one of only two Leicester shots on target, but it was the second attempt from the former England striker that has got Palace fans excited.
Quick passing from the Foxes easily carved open the Palace defence and Vardy had us all throwing down the proverbial mortgage on him to score. Instead, his stabbed effort from seven yards out was tipped onto the post by the keeper, off which the ball cannoned straight back into the arms of the former Getafe man. Vardy punched the crossbar in frustration before casting a disbelieving glance at Guaita, who jumped up and ran to the post and gave it a loving touch.
As if this wonderful save wasn’t enough, he then won everyone over with his post-match interview with Chris Grierson. His English is still very basic, but his efforts to take the interview in English, as well as using colloquialisms such as calling everyone “mate”, had everyone eating out the palm of his hand.
James McArthur, the Diver
For the third season running, McArthur was booked for diving. One less than Wilfried Zaha in that time. The difference being, McArthur actually dives. He basically did exactly what Glenn Murray tried to do to win a penalty a couple of weeks back. He dragged his feet and sought contact that never came.
I wonder why there isn’t a media shit storm?
Man of the Match: Martin Kelly
Alan Pardew ruined Martin Kelly in the eyes of many. Time and again the former Palace manager played Kelly at left-back where he is simply, despite his best efforts, not a Premier League level player.
Centre-back is a different story.
Kelly seemed to be like a magnet for the ball every time that the visitors delivered it into the penalty area. His 14 clearances in the game, more than the entire Leicester team combined and only three fewer than the rest of the Palace team combined, seem to back up this theory. His seven aerial duels won was also the most in the game.
To have so few minutes this season and then to step up and put in such an imperious performance is a credit to Martin’s professionalism and we are very lucky to have such a competent squad player.
At the end of the game, Kelly tipped his hat to the crowd, saying that the “constant noise in the last twenty minutes kept us going.” That is now 2 games back for the Holmesdale Fanatics and two victories. Of course, there have been plenty of poor performances in the past when they have been present, but I doubt that many are questioning the positive impact that the groups return has had both on and off the field.
Up Next: Manchester City
We’ve got to win there at some point, right?
Come on you Palace!