Five Things We Learnt From The Win At Huddersfield
It has been a while since we have been able to celebrate a win but here is what TEB learnt from the excellent win at Huddersfield.
1. We have been saying it for weeks, but a fully fit Palace side are more than capable of pulling away from the relegation battle. With key players back, the Eagles were quick out of the blocks against Huddersfield, and never loosened their grip after establishing control of the game. It would be wrong to underestimate the galvanising effect that the returning Wilfried Zaha, Mamadou Sakho and Yohan Cabaye had on the team, and if they can all stay fit, we will pick up the necessary points sooner rather than later.
2. Palace can give as good as they get. After the opening day defeat to Huddersfield, much was made of the away side’s strong-arm tactics which ultimately side-lined Zaha for six games. While it was more of the same yesterday – all three of Huddersfield’s bookings were for fouls on Wilf – Palace showed a niggly streak of their own. The Eagles were first to every second ball, pressed their hosts relentlessly, and looked intent on ensuring that the Terriers were not going to bully them for a second time this season.
3. James Tomkins has been great, but Sakho makes him even better. Martin Kelly has been a more than competent deputy, but Sakho brings another level of quality and leadership to the back four. With Mama back alongside him, Tomkins looked even more assured, and there was perhaps no player more deserving of scoring the goal that set us on our way to a first win since January.
4. If ever a game was indicative of how much better off Palace are with Roy Hodgson than Frank de Boer, this was it. The 3-0 defeat at Selhurst Park stank of disorganisation and unrest, with players seemingly unaware of their roles and confused by the Dutchman’s tactics. Yesterday, however, was as professional a performance as you are likely to see. Palace nullified any Huddersfield threat without losing their fluidity going forward, and if there was any sense of anxiety going into this game, it certainly hadn’t affected Hodgson or the players.
5. Benteke’s omission from the Belgium squad could be a blessing in disguise for Palace. The 27-year-old’s struggles have been well-documented this season, and while he still might not be scoring, he is starting to dominate defenders again. On his day, Benteke is a handful for any centre back in the league, and Huddersfield’s pairing did not know what to do with him on Saturday. There are hints that a return to form could be imminent, and it might not be too far-fetched to back Benteke to score a couple of important goals before the season’s over.
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