Zaha To The Rescue As Palace Battle Back For A Point

After being poor for much of the game, changes inspired an injury hit and lack lustre Palace side into action and ending up almost snatching all three points as the unbeaten run stretches to four games.


16th December 2019


Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion


Selhurst Park Stadium, Holmesdale Road, Selhurst, London SE25 6PU




REFEREE – Craig Pawson.

ASSISTANTS – Ian Hussin, Richard West, Peter Bankes (fourth official) 

VAR – Martin Atkinson, Lee Betts (assistant)


Yellow cards – Christian Benteke (35), Davy Propper (86)


Neal Maupay (54), Wilfried Zaha (76)


Vicente Guaita as voted for by our Twitter followers.


The opening seventy minutes of this game was a real concern for most home fans particularly when the visitors took the lead but changes made at the right times proved pivotal. That is something that many have been critical of Roy Hodgson for and while he admitted that he got the formation all wrong, the introductions from the bench ultimately contributed to a share of the points. The funny thing is, for as well as Brighton played in this game they ended up travelling back to the South Coast with just a point courtesy of their nemesis. The worry now however is the queue in the treatment room and the comments by Hodgson ahead of the January transfer window in terms of the needs.


One referral for a potential penalty that the visitors were crying about and with Martin Atkinson the VAR, we feared the worst. Thankfully not, and no, we have not seen the footage of it since.


Bob White was a coach at Palace under the tenure of Steve Coppell and Alan Smith and will be sharing his point of view each week in our review article.

“Ultimately, it was a point gained in a game where we probably had about 30% possession and posed little goal threat until the final twenty minutes. Brighton under Potter have based their approach this season on retaining possession for long spells. However, in essence despite dominating possession, they created few goalscoring opportunities during the whole nintey minutes. The Maupay goal apart, most efforts were from long distance which were dealt with comfortably by Guaita.

Although few goalscoring opportunities were offered to Brighton, our performance was generally below par for lengthy spells. Injuries have certainly hit us hard and played no small part in contributing to an imbalanced look in our shape and approach. It took a top quality strike by Wilf to shake us into action and onto the front foot playing with higher tempo and purpose. Although there is no questioning the resolve and character within our squad, we underperformed against our rivals.

On individual performances, Guaita stood out again – he commands his area and inspires confidence for defenders in front of him. Ayew, Zaha and Tomkins also played important roles in securing a ‘respect the point.’ Roy faces some selection issues due to a growing injury list for the forthcoming game at Newcastle. It is never a good sign when there is the real possibility of square pegs in round holes. Quality additions in three positions are urgently required in the January transfer window. No pressure then on Mr Parish and our recruitment team!”


31 VICENTE GUAITA (8) – Spilled a couple which was uncharacteristic but it was a busy night for him and stood firm. Could do nothing for the goal.

34 MARTIN KELLY (7) – The right back slot remains a position that he should not be playing but put in another good shift again. One forray forward saw him in position for a shot on goal but the effort went wide.

5 JAMES TOMKINS (8 – ASSIST!) – Now that he has had an uninterrupted run of games, he is back to his best. Left everything out there and looked absolutely shattered by the time he left the pitch.

6 SCOTT DANN (6) – Had a couple of dodgy moments with poor passes that were picked up by the opposition but worked well with Tomkins alongside him to keep the visitors at bay.

44 JAIRO RIEDEWALD (6) – Good passing but struggled in the left back berth – rumours are that he went into the game with a knock. Replaced by 22 JAMES MCCARTHY (6) on 46 minutes who shored up a midfield that was conceding possession and ground to the opposition in the first half. Definately pushing for a start.

8 CHIEKHOU KOUYATE (6) – Had to work even harder than usual in the starting formation and looked stretched. Replaced by 7 MAX MEYER (6) on 67 minutes who provided the impetus for the side to push on and get back into the game. Immediate impact with the first move he was involved in after entering the fray.

4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (7) – Visibly frustrated and was very animated with team-mates and officials throughout the game. Whether that was down to the formation, it was not clear but this was another performance that we have not been accustomed to from the captain.

18 JAMES MCARTHUR (6) – Along with his fellow midfielders, struggled to keep a hold on the game in the middle of the park. Surprisingly found himself at left back for the second half and did a decent job.

11 WILFRIED ZAHA (8 – GOAL!) – Needed to be involved more as every time he got the ball, the opposition were visibly worried, as was proved by his fantastic equaliser. Doing what he does best, against Brighton.

9 JORDAN AYEW (7) – Found himself in a different position but no less effort from the Ghana international who had one great effort after linking up well with Benteke. Got in the faces of the opposition and became more of a threat the longer the game went on.

17 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (7 – BOOKED!) – Terrific speculative effort which came back off the post making us think what this guy actually has to do to get back on the score sheet! Along with the rest of the team, found it difficult in the first half but played a big part in getting the hosts back on level terms.


13 Wayne Hennessey, 35 Sam Woods, 39 Tyrick Mitchell, 23 Victor Camarasa, 21 Connor Wickham


1 Ryan, 22 Montoya, 15 Webster, 5 Dunk, 33 Burn, 8 Bissouma, 24 Propper, 13 Gross, 11 Trossard, 18 Mooy, 7 Maupay

Substitutes – 27 Button, 4 Duffy (for Bissouma on 85 mins), 46 Alzate (for Trossard on 84 mins), 30 Bernardo (for Gross on 90 mins), 16 Jahanbakhsh, 21 Schelotto, 17 Murray


ROY HODGSON – “We got the tactics wrong. We were determined to take the game to them and play on the front foot but it didn’t work because they played around us and we didn’t win the ball back as we thought we might. We shored things up in the second half by bringing Wilfried Zaha and Jordan Ayew into a deeper position. We gave Brighton the wing space more than the central space and we restricted them largely to shots from distance.”

GRAHAM POTTER – “In the Premier League you know if you don’t get a second goal – and the home crowd get behind the team – the environment changes. We could always look to improve and do something better but you have to hold your hands up to the quality of the strike. They were putting balls into the box and we could have dealt with that better. But we created a lot of opportunities. There is lots to take forwards in a positive way. We dealt with it okay but not well enough because they scored. We kept them as quiet as we could but not enough.”


The Who Scored man of the match was Vicente Guaita (8.5) while Christian Benteke (4) had the most shots. The most tackles were made by Dan Burn (5) and the most dribbles were from Wilfried Zaha (5).

  • Team rating: 6.99 – 6.66
  • Total shots: 11 – 15
  • Shots on target: 4 – 10
  • Possession: 34.4% – 65.6%
  • Pass success: 71% – 84%
  • Dribbles: 10 – 10
  • Aerials won: 25 – 10
  • Tackles: 14 – 17
  • Corners: 3 – 7
  • Dispossessed: 12 – 11


With just two games left of 2019, Palace have 23 points from 17 games played and sit 9th in the table, a point behind Wolves in 8th and a point ahead of Arsenal in 10th.


21/12/2019 Newcastle United (a)

26/12/2019 West Ham United (h)

28/12/2019 Southampton (a)


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