It seems that every season, no matter what division we’re in or how dire we are, we go on a run of form that causes pundits and people alike to suggest that sooner or later we’re going to give someone a good thrashing. Yesterday was that day, though the scoreline might suggest otherwise.
We all know that the only statistic that matters in football is the score at the final whistle. History never reflects that for 89 minutes a team might have battered their opposition only for them to break away and score a last minute winner.
Those of us who made the journey to Anfield to see us lose 9-0 will attest to that. I have yet to speak to any fan who was there that night not say that we were not that bad and that it was just a game where every time they shot, they scored.
Yesterday could and should have been that type of game for us. Had we won yesterday by 6 goals nobody from Burnley would have cause to complain. We had 29 shots at the Burnley goal, the third most by a team this season!
It was coming!
For the last 5 or 6 games we have been playing well and not got what we deserved, only getting points against Arsenal and Manchester United. Both very good points to get though most pundits felt we should have beaten United. So there was the feeling that Palace were soon going to give someone a thrashing.
Over the years we have beaten Leicester City 5-0, Hull City 4-0 and Newcastle United 5-1. I could go on but I think you get the point?
Yesterday should have been our landmark result and while it is nice to have the statistics to show that it was the all important statistic doesn’t reflect that.
For all our dominance it was surprising to see the possession statistics as 60-40 in our favour. It felt at the very least a 70-30. I felt disappointed by the result, Burnley must have felt pleased. It was one of those games.
The Palace Way
As I hinted at in the title we won the game in typical Palace fashion. We took the least with, let’s be honest, a complete fluke of a goal by James McArthur. He took a throw-in on the right and received the ball back, cut onto his left foot and put a low cross towards the far post.
The only player running in was Max Meyer. Joe Hart in the Burnley goal and Meyer himself expected there to be some form of contact so both seemed equally surprised when it didn’t happen.
What followed was one of those situations that seem to go on slow motion. After the ball went past Meyer it took a bounce and then went in off the far post with Hart seemingly in two minds as to if he should dive for it.
Maybe you think I’m being a little harsh about the goal? Don’t get me wrong, Meyer couldn’t have done more and had he reached the ball it probably would have gone straight at Hart.
Coaches always teach you when shooting that if you are going to miss then miss at the far post. The same can be said when it comes to crossing.
As the saying goes, they all count and sometimes you need a bit of luck. Remember last season when Yohan Cabaye scored a double deflected goal against Chelsea? It got our season up and running after the infamous 007 start to the season, McArthur’s goal was a catalyst for what followed.
For the first half we were limited to 9 shots, it was in the second that we hammered Burnley’s goal with a further 20 shots when attacking the Holmesdale End.
Nothing would go in. Zaha had a couple of shots saved, he hit the crossbar and other’s saw their efforts go over or saved by Hart.
How Do You Solve A Problem Like Andros?
Then came the moment when Andros Townsend but in only his left foot and unleashed a fierce shot… only for it to go sailing into the upper tier of the Holmesdale. Townsend seems to have at least one of those a game so a few minutes later when he cut in and was about to attempt the same again you could be forgiven for expecting the same result. Only this time it flew into the top left-hand corner. A glorious goal that the performance deserved.
Let’s be honest here. For ever shot on target Townsend puts one high, wide and not very handsome. On occasion I have pondered if he’d ever considered becoming a rugby player.
I wonder what opposition coaches tell their left-back. Do they prefer Townsend to get the ball onto his right and put in a cross? We don’t really have anyone in the box to get on the end of it and when Benteke comes back… We still won’t have anyone in the box to get on the end of it.
Do they prefer Townsend to cut in on his left? They know the chances are the resulting shot will be high or at the very least the keeper will have good sight of it.
I guess that makes him a perfect Palace player. More miss than hit but when they hit… Man oh man!
The Final Whistle
So at the final whistle I felt disappointed. We won by a lucky goal from a cross and a wonder strike. That just about sums Palace up. Frustrating as hell while being capable of blinding brilliance.
I think it’s what keeps us all coming back for more.
Man of the match: Max Meyer. Unlucky not to score 2 or 3 and got a deserved standing ovation when substituted.