Riedewald A Ray Of Sunshine In Performance Clouded By Negatives

A late goal ensure the points were shared between Palace and Brighton, but here are the five things we took from the draw at Selhurst.

1. The only difference between Sunday’s game and the one against Chelsea was the quality of the opposition. Fortunately for Palace, Brighton don’t have the same cutting edge as the Blues which meant they were able to emerge with a point despite another turgid performance. The Eagles again set up to prevent the opposition from scoring rather than looking to find the net themselves, which makes sense in an away game against one of the top sides, but not at home to your rivals who are below you in the table. To only be able to muster up a single shot on target – and for that shot to be a penalty – simply isn’t good enough, and Roy Hodgson didn’t give the likes of Wilfried Zaha or Michy Batshuayi enough of a chance to have an impact on the game. This time it was Joel Ward whose mistake led to Palace conceding, but when the sole tactic is to stand off your opponents then it is inevitable that one of the defenders will put a foot wrong eventually.

2. Jairo Riedewald was a ray of sunshine in a performance largely clouded by negatives. The more the Dutchman plays, the more confusing it is that Hodgson has been largely reluctant to use him since he arrived at the club. Perhaps part of that has been down to not knowing what Riedewald’s best position is, but at this point it appears clear that he is good enough to be a Premier League defensive midfielder. On Sunday he proved that he reads the game well, can break up play and will also look to move the ball forward when he can. At 24, Riedewald still has his best years ahead of him, and is exactly the type of player Palace need to be looking to pin down to a long-term contract.

3. Many Palace fans will have been disappointed to see Eze on the bench against Brighton, but Jeffrey Schlupp justified his inclusion. The Eagles have benefited since the Leicester man’s return from injury, and his absence at the end of last season was perhaps felt more than people realised. On Sunday, he once again showed that he is one of Palace’s most effective ball carriers and also played an important role in helping Tyrick Mitchell limit the threat of Tariq Lamptey. Schlupp is clearly favoured by Hodgson, which makes one wonder where the Palace manager sees Eze eventually fitting into the team. It seems unlikely that Hodgson is going to start playing with a number ten, which is what would suit Eze best, so it feels inevitable that the summer signing is going to have to prove himself from the wing for now – as and when he gets the opportunity to do so.

4. Sunday did at least provide confirmation that Lewis Dunk is short of a brain cell, or seven. The Brighton skipper has become a figure of fun among Palace fans but there wasn’t much to laugh about after his two-footed lunge on Gary Cahill. I can get being fired up for a game against your rivals, and perhaps wanting to force home a late equaliser, but that challenge was only ever going to end one way. Palace can only hope that the tackle doesn’t have a lasting impact on Cahill’s fitness, as the former Chelsea man looked every bit as impressive on his return as he did before his hamstring injury at the end of last season.

5. Shortly after the game it emerged that Hodgson had singled out Zaha in his post-match comments as someone who he wanted more from. I would suggest that the Palace manager needs to tread carefully. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would struggle to have an impact in the system Palace are currently playing, so it is little surprise that Zaha isn’t influencing games in the way that Hodgson would like. Palace can’t continue to sit off teams who are in and around them in the table, otherwise the end result is going to be more of the same. As I have said previously, the Eagles have a winnable run of games coming up, but if performances and results don’t improve in the coming weeks then you would imagine that a section of the fanbase will start to lose patience with Hodgson.

  1. Most of us already have lost patience with Roy and his negative boring tactics. It’s time to move old fella upstairs and get in somebody younger with ideas to utilise our exciting attacking potential in our players.

  2. This was not really a draw. In reality, it was a loss. Ward needs to be held accountable for his huge gaff. For that matter, so does Roy.

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