So another game gone and another 3 points gathered, That is 9 points out 9 now, a points tally I didn’t expect to reach so soon. Let’s hope this form continues long into the future.
As you may remember, before Saturday’s match at Selhurst Park, I spoke with Johnny, a season ticket holder at Selhurst, for his thoughts ahead of the match. Due to a very strange rule in football, I held off asking Johnny for his ‘immediate’ thoughts on the match because i’m not sure the words he would have used are particularly friendly!
However, I always feel that there are 2 sides to every story and that is basically my job- to share the opposite side. So without further ado:
Who was the best player for each side this afternoon? And who was your eventual MOTM
For palace I’d say Kouyate. Not just because he scored our goal but the way he’s been playing this season since moving to centre back has been brilliant. He was solid throughout and then a threat every time we had the chance to put the ball in the box with a free kick or corner. For Everton I’d say it’s between Allan or Doucoure. Both of them were able to stop us executing our game plan, managing to stop all 4 attackers we had on the pitch with relative ease and both showed real technical quality. But for MOTM I’ll edge towards Allan since we’ve seen those performances from Doucoure in the premier league before over the last few seasons, but Allan has settled in so easily in the space of a month
In contrast, was their any players you were expecting more from this afternoon?
Only for us. Jordan Ayew won Player of the season last year and finished as the clubs top goal scorer. This season he’s started very slowly and doesn’t seem to have the same fire inside of him. There was a lot of frustration with his performance last weekend mostly because of his missed penalty at Old Trafford and this week it was more of the same offering us very little throughout. It really highlighted how desperately we still need more attacking options
It was good to see Eze get the start instead of Schlupp, was that XI what you were hoping for?
Hodgson confirmed before the game it was only down to Schlupp being injured, Something no one knew going in to the game. But it certainly got us fans excited as we’ve all be waiting for him to get his first start. It was never going to be easy but he certainly didn’t look out of place and I’d like to see him stay as a starter going forward, as he offers us something different that really keeps defenders on their toes. You could see once he came off we seemed to run out of ideas going forward instantly
Everton needed a slice of luck via VAR to get that penalty awarded, the game lost its sting after that, would you agree? What was your opinion on the awarded penalty?
I’d like to think I’m good at accepting defeat but when it’s like this I see it as being cheated out of the game and that frustrates me more than anything else. How they can decide that was a penalty and Dominic Calvert Lewin basically saving a shot in the second half wasn’t is beyond me. The way I see it is this. The header from Digne is going in to the ground with no real pace, it’s never going to trouble Guaita from that distance especially. And if it ended up going to Richarlison he would’ve been offside. So the ball being headed in to the arm of Joel Ward (which he never once moves towards the ball) didn’t prevent anything from happening. Where as in the second half Zaha has a shot that’s going towards goal with pace. DCL moves his arm towards the ball and uses it to stop it and nothing is given..? But I’ll leave it at that or I’ll be here all day.
It seemed Everton played to stop your counter attacking. Do Crystal Palace have a set plan B?
Not having a plan B has always been an issue with Hodgson. It’s very rare we’re set up to attack teams from the off, so when we do concede first it always makes for a frustrating watch as the players often seem to struggle going forward. Which is why I don’t think it’s a surprise that the only way we got back into this game in the first place was from a set piece. We had a lot of the ball in the second half but couldn’t do anything with it. Especially once Eze came off and we moved Zaha back out wide. It was the usual case where as soon as he got the ball he had 3 or more opposition players swarming around him. Where as having the flair of Eze on the pitch at the same time doesn’t allow defenders to target one player in larger groups. I think you defended well but we really didn’t ask the questions that we should’ve
Does this result highlight where Crystal Palace need to further strengthen in the transfer window?
100%! The lack of creativity has cost us again and it will continue to do so if we don’t make the right signings. I’m fairly confident we will see players come in next week who bring the spark that we’re missing. Defensively we were solid enough. So it’s just a case of sorting out the other end of the pitch now
What was your overall thoughts on the match? Was it a fair result? (All things considered)
I don’t think any Everton fan could confidently say that you deserved to win the match. And it’s the same with us. I feel that we matched you quite well over the pitch and a point was the least we deserved. Both teams played as I expected which is what made it an interesting game for the first 45 minutes. But after the break we didn’t really see any moments of quality from anyone and the flow and pace seemed to have gone from the game
Is there any Everton player that surprised/impressed you?
I think outside of the usual players who get the headlines and the media hype Seamus Coleman deserves a lot of praise. He dealt with the rotation between our wingers and strikers very well. And you see many fullbacks by the age of 30+ that have lost that burst of pace or don’t seem to get forward well at all (much like Joel Ward for us) but he seems to step his game up another level every season. Being a real threat down the right with his aggression going forward which we saw with his assist for the goal. And then he also dealt with our attacking players very comfortably
Thank you to Johnny for helping me out with this! check back with COYB later this week to catch the Behind Enemy Lines and Match Preview ahead of the Brighton match!