Much Improved Performance Not Enough To Prevent Fourth Defeat On The Spin

It will go down as the fourth defeat in succession but the Eagles deserved more after a spirited second half showing which pushed the visitors right until the final whistle.


7th July 2020


Crystal Palace 2-3 Chelsea


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


Behind closed doors


REFEREE – David Coote

ASSISTANTS – Neil Davies, Nick Hopton, James Linington (fourth offcial)

VAR – Peter Bankes, Ian Hussin (assistant)



Bookings – Luka Milivojevic (35)


Olivier Giroud (6), Christian Pulisic (27), Wilfried Zaha (34), Tammy Abraham (71), Christian Benteke (72)


Christian Benteke


After the early loss of Gary Cahill combined with going two goals down within the first half an hour, it looked like recent form was going to continue. Even though the game ended in defeat, this was a performance full of fight and Palace arguably deserved better. It was the reaction we had hoped for after disappointment against Burnley in the previous home game and while there is very little to play for between now and the end of the season, more of this before we head off for another break will be very welcome.


Nothing of note


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.

“People often say a week is a long time in politics but for Palace in football terms it was a matter of three days! After the insipid poor performance last Saturday, we were a team transformed in tactical approach, commitment and intensity. Despite losing Gary Cahill to what looks like a season ending injury and as a consequence going one goal down within six minutes followed by conceding a second before the half hour, our players never let their heads drop. As a result, we clawed our way back into contention with one of our best goals of the season. Wilfried Zaha scored from long range with one of the sweetest strikes in his career. From that moment on Chelsea knew they had a game on their hands.

Most of the second half was controlled by us and although we conceded another goal through a swift incisive counter-attack, our team again showed great resolve in their response. Consequently we were rewarded by a well worked goal set up by Patrick van Aanholt and converted at close range by Christian Benteke. We put Chelsea under enormous pressure in the closing minutes and only the post prevented Scott Dann from securing us a well deserved point.

As a team we played at a better tempo, pressed and closed down much higher and attempted to move the ball forwards quickly with more purpose. After his poor performance against Leicester, Mamadou Sakho looked more solid alongside Dann. Maybe the Sakho/Cahill partnership just doesn’t work; evidenced by 11 good reasons after our Spurs, Liverpool and Leicester results away? Even with the obvious creative weaknesses in central midfield because our three players closed the opposition down quickly, won the ball back regularly, they were able to play the simple release pass wide to PVA or into the front three of Zaha, Benteke and Jordan Ayew. Both Zaha and Ayew were given licence to switch between the two flanks and occasionally roam inside. Such movement certainly posed serious questions to the Chelsea defence who were run ragged at times.

Overall a vastly improved team performance after the disappointments of the past three games. For a change I’m going to be sentimental in my man of the match. It could have gone to any one of a few players but my final decision is Christian Benteke. We now have four days to recover before the game on Sunday at Villa Park. If we compete and play with the same intensity as this evening then gaining three points is not beyond us. Up the Palace!”


31 VICENTE GUAITA (6) – Did not have a huge amount to do during the game but stayed alert to make one good save down to his right.

2 JOEL WARD (6) – Struggled when facing the talented Pulisic for much of the night and poor distribution when in possession.

6 SCOTT DANN (6) – So unlucky not to have grabbed the equaliser late on with a towering header at the far post. Stood up well to most of what was thrown at him.

24 GARY CAHILL (6) – What looked like a pulled hamstring is likely to end his season but that injury let in the opposition for the opening goal. Replaced by 12 MAMADOU SAKHO (6) on 8 minutes who did the simple things and looked to have learnt from his big mistake at Leicester.

3 PATRICK VAN AANHOLT (7 – ASSIST!) – Looked to play more of a wing back role particularly throughout the second half and did it with great effect.

8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (7) – The star performer in the middle of the park, showed plenty of energy and fight.

4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (6 – BOOKED!) – Looked off the pace and lost the midfield battle as a result. Replaced by 7 MAX MEYER (6) on 89 minutes who had no time to have any impact.

18 JAMES MCARTHUR (6) – Recent exertions look to have caught up with him, had an early chance from distance which he failed to get on target. Replaced by 22 JAMES MCCARTHY (6) on 80 minutes who got stuck in straight away and contributed to the late push for an equaliser.

11 WILFRIED ZAHA (7 – GOAL!) – One of his better games this season, grew into the game the longer it went on. Great goal to get the hosts back into the game.

9 JORDAN AYEW (6) – Played his part as the front three went at the visiting defence after the break. Replaced by 10 ANDROS TOWNSEND (6) on 80 minutes for some much needed fresh legs.

17 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (8 – GOAL! TEB MOM!) – His all round performance deserved a goal as he went toe to toe with Kurt Zouma which was a fascinating battle all game.


13 Wayne Hennessey, 35 Sam Woods, 39 Tyrick Mitchell, 40 Brandon Pierrick, 44 Jairo Riedewald


1 Arrizabalaga, 24 James, 4 Christensen, 15 Zouma, 28 Azpilicueta, 8 Barkley, 47 Gilmour, 19 Mount, 10 Willian, 18 Giroud, 22 Pulisic

Substitutes – 12 Cabellero, 2 Rudiger, 3 Alonso, 5 Jorginho (replaced Gilmore on 80 minutes), 9 Abraham (replaced Giroud on 65 minutes), 11 Pedro, 12 Loftus-Cheek (replaced Barkley on 65 minutes), 20 Hudson-Odoi, 23 Batshuayi


ROY HODGSON – “When Wilf is in that type of form he shows he is one of the best players in the Premier League. It is good for us because when you have him in that type of form you feel like you have a great chance of winning a match. I thought the fighting spirit, the way we played and the determination means at this moment in time we don’t feel too disappointed. But three weeks from now people will say that this is another defeat for Palace, it is four in a row and they are playing badly. We need to be strong and know we are not playing badly.”

FRANK LAMPARD – “There were moments in the game where our game-management wasn’t great. At 2-0 we can dominate that game and finish it. When we went 3-2 up we had chances to finish the game and were sloppy. But at this point, three points is the critical thing. For the chances we create we don’t score enough goals. It changes the face of a game when you have chances and don’t take them and nerves kick in. And you can’t feel secure in football matches if you keep giving goals away. We still have to learn from moments in our game and be better.”


The Who Scored man of the match was Willian (8.9) who also had the most shots along with Christian Benteke (3). The most tackles were by Joel Ward and Cesar Azpilicueta (5) while Willian and Christian Pulisic (4) had the most dribbles.

  • Team rating: 6.48 – 7.02
  • Total shots: 8 – 13
  • Shots on target: 4 – 6
  • Possession: 39.9% – 60.1%
  • Pass success: 78 – 84
  • Dribbles: 4 – 13
  • Aerials won: 29 – 16
  • Tackles: 15 – 18
  • Corners: 5 – 9
  • Dispossessed: 12 – 9


Palace are 14th in the Premier League with 42 points from 34 games, 6 points ahead of Brighton in 15th and a point behind Southampton in 13th.


12/07/2020 Aston Villa (a – 2.15pm)

16/07/2020 Manchester United (h – 8.15pm)

20/07/2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers (a – 8.15pm)


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