The last person anyone would have expected to have made a mistake had nowhere to hide as Vicente Guaita handed the visitors all the encouragement they needed to do the double over the Eagles.
1st February 2020
Crystal Palace 0-1 Sheffield United
Selhurst Park Stadium, Holmesdale Road, Selhurst, London SE25 6PU
REFEREE – Andy Madley
ASSISTANTS – Neil Davies, Derek Eaton, Anthony Coggins (fourth official)
VAR – Tim Robinson, Ian Hussin (assistant)
Yellow cards – George Baldock (17), James Tomkins (23), Luka Milivojevic (66), John Fleck (67), Joel Ward (73)
Vicente Guaita (OG 57)
Roy Hodgson rightly made changes following the defeat to Southampton last time out in the hope that a win would soften the blow of a disappointing transfer window. Unfortunately, for all the good play before the uncharacteristic goalkeeping mistake, going a goal down effected the confidence negatively for the remainder of the game. There were chances, plenty of them in fact but a couple of glaring misses and the failure of the officials to brandish a first half red card proved that it was not going to be the Eagles day which ended a week of frustration in similar fashion. It leaves Palace in quite an odd position in the league – 6 points from 6th and 6 points from 18th – do we look up or do we start looking over our shoulders?
VIDEO ASSISTANT REFEREE
The first referral was for an apparant elbow by Billy Sharp on James Tomkins which was deemed not to be a red card. The second was for a straight red card shown to Joel Ward which was reduced to a yellow after the referee took a look at the screen at the side of the pitch, something that has not happened enough this season.
BOB’S POINT OF VIEW
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.
“The game and result today completed a disappointing week in the transfer window. Despite our best efforts, it was a blank on incomings this week and also on goals scored. A January transfer window that proved underwhelming despite Hodgson indicating he wanted at least four key signings to bolster our squad. Culpability all round.
The first 60 minutes of a game we had controlled was turned on its head by a rare goalkeeping error by Guaita. From a position of control, Sheffield then seized the initiative with the goal. Despite plenty of huffing and puffing, we struggled to maintain any sustained pressure on their goal. A glorious missed opportunity by Tomkins proved to be our only real threat during the second half. The statistics say we had 13 shots and 61% possession but we miss a clinical goal scorer or two to convert those opportunities. To add to the disappointment of the result and performance, the standard of refereeing was way below that required at Premier League level. Inconsistent, indecisive and ultimately poor decision making were the hallmarks of an inexperienced referee who was palpably out of his depth.
The main stand out performance was Zaha who despite being fouled eight times during the game proved to be a constant threat to the Sheffield defence. In summary, it felt like a point dropped against a well organised, efficient if not particularly pleasing on the eye Sheffield team. I sense with a tough final run in, we could easily be dragged into a relegation battle. Three more wins will be enough for safety but we are finding those precious three points increasingly difficult to achieve.”
31 VICENTE GUAITA (6) – A real howler but also made a couple of saves which kept us in the game. Other keepers would be criticised for such a mistake but the Spaniard has plenty in the bank to be forgiven for this one. The goal did however change the dynamic of the game quite considerably.
2 JOEL WARD (6 – BOOKED!) – Difficult game for the full back but escaped a red card following a VAR referral.
5 JAMES TOMKINS (6 – BOOKED!) – Had a great chance to equalise but just could not quite get his head to the ball. Another that took a silly booking but was rarely flustered alongside Cahill.
24 GARY CAHILL (7) – Solid in the heart of the defence with not much getting past him all afternoon.
3 PATRICK VAN AANHOLT (6) – As a natural full back the return of the Dutchman to the side was perhaps harsh on Jairo but made sense as he links up so well with Zaha when going forward. Did a decent job defensively too.
4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (6 – BOOKED!) – Welcome return to the side for the captain after serving his three match ban. He showed that we have missed his battling qualities in the middle but he really must stop getting his name in the book as he is on his way to a further ban.
22 JAMES MCCARTHY (6) – Linked up well with his fellow midfielders in a solid display. Replaced by 7 MAX MEYER (6) on 80 minutes to bring some energy to the game and you cannot fault the effort of the German but did not have much time to have an impact.
18 JAMES MCARTHUR (6) – Called a ‘southern softie’ by the visiting fans after being poleaxed in the middle, the Scot retained the ball well and battled throughout. Chance fell to him after a great move which should have been rewarded with a goal but the keeper was equal to the effort. Replaced by 8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (6) on 86 minutes to put some height back into the side but had no time to exert himself on the game.
11 WILFRIED ZAHA (7) – Fouled eight times in the game and one of those challenges should have seen a second yellow card. Regardless, Wilf was in the mood and with his new look was always going to be the one that was likely to create something.
9 JORDAN AYEW (6) – Found himself having come too deep to pick up the ball and ended up playing much of his game in front of the backline. Continued to try and create something.
17 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (7) – First game back from injury and put in a solid performance, winning headers and doing well in possession of the ball. Two great chances fell his way, one he did not get any power in his shot and the other he was just inches away from a ball crossed into the six yard box. Replaced by 10 ANDROS TOWNSEND (6) on 77 minutes to provide some more pace and skill but without Benteke on the pitch, nobody was going to get on the end of his crosses.
13 Wayner Hennessey, 6 Scott Dann, 34 Martin Kelly, 44 Jairo Riedewald,
1 Henderson, 6 Basham, 12 Egan, 5 O’Connell, 3 Stevens, 4 Fleck, 16 Norwood, 32 Berge, 2 Baldock, 10 Sharp, 9 McBurnie
Substitutes – 7 Lundstram (replaced Berg on 68 minutes), 8 Freeman, 15 Jagielka, 19 Robinson, 21 Verrips, 22 Mousset (replaced Sharp on 68 minutes), 23 Osborn (replaced McBurnie on 90 minutes),
POST GAME QUOTES
ROY HODGSON – “The goal was unfortunate because Guaita’s done so well for us this season. He’s made fantastic saves to keep us in games and get us three points at times. It’s disappointing that he’s going to bear the brunt of the criticism. Everyone who watches the game tonight will say it was the goalkeeper’s fault. I’m sad for him because he doesn’t deserve that. We thought George Baldock should have been red carded, but I don’t want to pick the referee’s decisions here and there. If we’d been given a red card and they’d been able to play on with 11 men after Baldock’s challenge, I’d be perfectly entitled to stand here and say the referee hasn’t done us any favours.”
CHRIS WILDER – “It’s a huge result today. We were up against some really good players but the team kept their discipline and shape. We were lucky with the goal, but I thought we were good value for the win. We’re delighted to add another three points to the number we have already. Palace have a habit of feeling their way into the game and coming on strongly in the second half, but they started very well. I felt we stuck in the game and managed to get a very valuable three points.”
The Who Scored man of the match was Oliver Norwood (7.5) while the most shots were from too many players to mention (2). The most tackles were by Sander Berge (5) while the most dribbles were from George Baldock (4).
- Team rating: 6.44 – 6.92
- Total shots: 13 – 10
- Shots on target: 3 – 3
- Possession: 60.6% – 39.4%
- Pass success: 80% – 72%
- Dribbles: 6 – 11
- Aerials won: 27 – 21
- Tackles: 13 – 18
- Corners: 9 – 5
- Dispossessed: 11 – 9
POSITION IN THE TABLE
Palace have 30 points from 25 games played and sit 13th in the Premier League, 6 points from 6th, and 6 points from 18th.
NEXT THREE FIXTURES
08/02/2020 Everton (a – 12.30pm)
22/02/2020 Newcastle United (h – 3pm)
29/02/2020 Brighton & Hove Albion (a – 12.30pm)