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Missed Chances Were Our Downfall At Vicarage Road

There is a reason that I wait a while after a Palace match to pen my thoughts on TEB.

The debacle on Sunday is the main reason why. After some time to reflect, and after watching United get blown away at Old Trafford, here are my thoughts…

There are countless reasons why Palace lost on Sunday

It was a very ominous start to match-day when news broke that James Tomkins was injured during the pre-match warm-ups. The pairing of Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho is arguably one of the best in the Premier League. Losing one of them just before kick off is less than ideal.

Side tangent: Palace Twitter is the best. I’d imagine that most of you follow many Palace centric accounts and if you do you definitely saw the meltdown that this news caused. People were acting as if Palace were getting relegated on the spot and why even play anymore just because Tomkins got injured before the game. There is nothing like Palace twitter. The best.

I thought that Martin Kelly filled in admirably and was strong in the back most of the game. The only time where I felt he performed less than ideal was early in the second half when there was that crazy scramble in front of Wayne Hennessey. Kelly got turned around a bit and was caught out of position and it could have been a grave mistake.

Speaking of that second half, it was by far the most lackadaisical half of football that I can remember Palace playing. Lazy passing mixed with equally lazy defending spelled doom for the Eagles. It was very un-Palace. Where was the passion? Where was the try at all cost? As a fan it was frustrating and I cannot imagine what was going through Roy Hogdson’s head during this time.

Missed chances, missed chances, missed chances

They once again came back bite Palace. I tweeted after James McArthur missed a wide open net when only Ben Foster was in his way that it was starting to feel like away at Bournemouth last season. That was a game that we had won but continued to miss chance after chance and ended up allowing a late goal to drop points. McArthur’s great first touch to get him free turned into him missing a sitter and a first half lead.

Combine that with Christian Benteke’s header that was cast aside from Foster earlier and those were the only chances Palace had until Wilfried Zaha’s late goal. If the match was to be 2-0 or even 1-0 at the half, it would have been a very different game in the second half. I’d be willing to bet that Palace came away from Vicarage Road with at least a point, maybe more.

The most obvious red card in the history of red cards

It took me over 400 words to finally get to the most obvious attempt to injure another player that these eyes have seen. Only, for some reason, it wasn’t that obvious to Anthony Taylor. What Étienne Capoue did to Zaha was disgusting and has no place in this game. For the life of me, I will never understand how he was not sent off and cannot understand the reaction by Watford afterwards.

In the replay you can quite clearly see Capoue say that he didn’t touch him. Javi Garcia seemed to deflect the question and situation afterwards by saying he hadn’t seen it and that “it was a rainy day with many contacts”. If that is how he wants to manage and how he needs to win games then I actually feel sorry for him. I’d certainly hope that Capoue wasn’t instructed to take out Zaha. It’s just very curious how early the challenge came and how vicious it was. Anyway, enough of Capoue and his most awful, no good, rotten attempt to end Zaha.

Let’s look at the positives

Wilfried Zaha became Palace’s all time leading goal scorer in the Premier League. It was only a matter of time that he overtook Chris Armstrong and now it is all about how far can he distance himself from the rest, cementing his place in Palace folklore.

We are not West Ham – I mean, at least we have three points and scored a few goals this year …

There were many negatives

Luka Milivojevic had perhaps his worst game in the red and blue. He was overrun countless times by Watford’s midfielders and looked very slow. He also nearly set up Will Hughes on the aforementioned scramble early in the second half. His passing was off, his defensive duties were off, it was just an overall bad game. He is still our leader and captain but he will have to play better moving forward.

Each week I have harped on Jeffrey Schlupp and each following week he affirms what I say. Nothing ill willed towards the man himself, by all accounts a great guy, but he should not be in the starting eleven from here on out. Max Meyer has done more in the twenty minutes he has played over two games than Schlupp has in all of his three starts this season. He is a great back-up, and there is where he should stay.

Lastly, Joel Ward…… He has been a great servant to the club and continues to be so. He missed a game stealing goal by mere inches. Feel sorry for the guy. He was not the reason we lost that game. He is a proper Palace player and he is the type that all fans should hope are in their team.

The great thing about this game is that there are 35 games left of the season

The next four are all winnable and they come at a very important time for the club. They need to rack up as many points as possible before facing the likes of City, Chelsea and Spurs. Enough rambling from this American for one night. Before I go, if you are an American like myself and are looking for other Palace fans in your area then you need to follow CPFC in the States. Look them up on Twitter and connect with other Palace fans all over the USA.





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