A number of changes were made for the second game in quick succession and it almost proved successful as the Eagles turned the tide with a point after a much improved performance.
28th December 2020
Crystal Palace 1-1 Leicester City
Selhurst Park Stadium, Holmesdale Road, Selhurst, London SE25 6PU
Behind closed doors
Referee – Graham Scott
Assistants – Simon Long, Neil Davies
Fourth official – Gavin Ward
VAR – Darren England
Assistant VAR – Simon Bennett
BOOKINGS – Hamza Choudhury (51)
RED CARD – none
Wilfried Zaha (58), Harvey Barnes (83)
TEB MAN OF THE MATCH
Roy Hodgson rang the changes, more so than many had predicted, and they proved justified as Palace battled to take a point from a Leicester side that moved into second place in the Premier League. It says a lot that fans are disappointed with the point considering Palace had taken the lead only to be pegged back late on, but this was a much more competitive showing and certainly something to build on.
VIDEO ASSISTANT REFEREE
Used twice early on for the penalty check which was quick and for the save by Guaita. Big claim by Kouyate and Benteke for a handball in the area but never looked at by VAR which makes a mockery of the technology.
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.
“After two heavy defeats, you could sense the pre-match trepidation by our fans on social media and our players certainly translated that into a performance in the first half which lacked confidence. Hodgson had reverted to our more usual team shape and structure ensuring Leicester were restricted to few goal scoring opportunities throughout the whole game.
The first half was dominated by two penalties which were missed for different reasons! A decent penalty save by Guaita from a below par effort by Iheanacho, then a missed VAR penalty award for an obvious handball in the Leicester area. With so much technology available it is baffling how such an infringement wasn’t seen. However, in all honesty after such a cagey nervous performance we were fortunate to go in level at half-time.
We started the second half more positively by closing down Leicester players much higher up the pitch which allowed us to win back possession in better places to initiate attacks. Our reward came from an excellent cross by Townsend and a fine crisp finish at the far post by Zaha. It was also great to hear Ray Lewington barking instructions and encouragement again from the touch line during the whole of the half. It was puzzling to comprehend why he was missing in that role against Villa and during the first period of this game.
It looked as though we might hold on for a precious three points but disappointingly we gave away possession from our own thrown-in which allowed Barnes an unchallenged run to the edge of our area. By fair means or foul, Barnes should have been prevented from having a clean low strike which beat Guaita who may have been slightly unsighted. It was then a case of digging in and making sure we didn’t lose a precious point. At the final whistle you could sense disappointment on the faces of both sets of players but before the game many of our fans would have taken that point against a team competing for a top four position.
In summary, although our performance wasn’t pretty, it was important to stop the rot after conceding ten goals in our last two games. Although Guaita may take the plaudits for the penalty save and Zaha for that fine goal, a worthy mention for my man of the match goes to the young Tyrick Mitchell. Leicester regularly tested him by overloading our left flank but he defended resolutely positioning himself well on most occasions. He is a more reliable defender than PVA. Hopefully some confidence was regained before a key game against Sheffield United next Saturday. At least our players have four complete days to recover and prepare. Up the Palace!”
31 VICENTE GUAITA (7) – Saved the spot kick to keep the score goalless and was not particularly called upon again. Not a chance with the equaliser.
17 NATHANIEL CLYNE (7) – Was rarely threatened in the first half as most of the attacking went down the right but became more involved in the second.
8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (7) – Solid in the centre of defence once again and continues to shine as our best centre half right now.
5 JAMES TOMKINS (6) – Guilty of the challenge which gave the opposition the penalty but his keeper bailed him out. Strong performance otherwise.
27 TYRICK MITCHELL (7) – Had to face a lot in the first half as he was clearly targeted down his side but just about got through it. Had a good second half after settling back in.
10 ANDROS TOWNSEND (7 – ASSIST!) – Great first half chance that he should really have done better with but rarely saw the ball otherwise Brilliant assist for the goal and always a willing runner.
4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (CAPTAIN – 7) – Involved in a fraught midfield battle but struggled to retain any real possession of note. Found himself on the end of some tough challenges.
44 JAIRO RIEDEWALD (7) – Some stray passes on his return to the team but always looked calm and assured alongside Milivojevic. Replaced by 18 JAMES MCARTHUR (6) on 74 minutes who provided some fresh legs in the midfield to try and preserve the three points.
15 JEFFREY SCHLUPP (6) – Found himself protecting Mitchell in a busy first half but looked the one player that likely to open up the opoosition when getting forward. Replaced by 9 JORDAN AYEW (6) on 84 minutes who could not make an impact in the short time he was on the pitch.
11 WILFRIED ZAHA (7 – GOAL!) – A frustrating first half but made up for that with a brilliant goal at the far post on the volley. Constantly caused problems whenever he had the ball.
20 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (7) – Found it hard to get into the game in the first half but drew defenders to give Zaha space for his goal. Battled well in as the lone striker with decent hold up play and flick ons.
1 Jack Butland, 2 Joel Ward, 3 Patrick van Aanholt, 12 Mamadou Sakho, 22 James McCarthy, 23 Michy Batshuayi, 25 Eberechi Eze
1 Schmeichel, 2 Justin, 18 Amartey, 6 Evans, 33 Thomas, 20 Choudhury, 24 Mendy, 17 Perez, 26 Praet, 15 Barnes, 14 Iheanacho
SUBSTITUTES – 4 Soyuncu, 5 Morgan, 7 Gray (replaced Iheanacho 72 mins), 8 Tielemans (replaced Choudhury on 57 mins), 9 Vardy (replaced Praet on 65 mins), 11 Albrighton, 12 Ward, 25 Ndidi, 28 Fuchs
POST GAME QUOTES
ROY HODGSON –“It certainly was a positive second half but it almost cost Ray Lewington a heart attack to produce that energy! That is what Palace want to be and we pressurised the ball so much better. We looked dangerous going forward but unfortunately we do not get the full three points. That could have led to us conceding another one but luckily we didn’t, because that would have been very harsh.
It is definitely a step forward. In the first half, we couldn’t really believe what we were seeing because we know we are better than the performance. The players responded much better in the second half and their performance stepped up more than one gear, and they started playing the football we know they can play.
Today was important to put a stop to a bad run. The last two games have been very painful and hurt us deeply, but today makes us feel better about ourselves. Staying in the league, this year more than any other, is not going to be easy, we could find ourselves quite quickly dragged into a relegation battle.”
BRENDAN RODGERS – “We should win the game. We had good control of the first half with the penalty and a few other chances we should have put away, without any real defensive problems. Second half, we made a mistake for their goal but then we picked up the tempo and Harvey scores a good goal. Apart from that first 15 minutes of the second half, we had good control and that is a game you have to win.”
The Who Scored man of the match was Harvey Barnes (7.9) who also had the most shots (6). The most tackles were by Ayoze Perez (7) while Jonny Evans and Harvey Barnes (3) had the most dribbles.
- Team rating: 6.71 – 6.66
- Total shots: 4 – 17
- Shots on target: 1 – 3
- Possession: 33.3% – 66.7%
- Pass success: 62% – 81%
- Passes: 298 – 605
- Dribbles: 6 – 11
- Aerials won: 23 – 21
- Tackles: 19 – 22
- Fouls: 10 – 7
- Corners: 2 – 5
- Saves: 2 – 0
- Dispossessed: 14 – 8
POSITION IN THE TABLE
Palace have 19 points from 16 games played and moved up to 13th in the Premier League after the final whistle, a point behind Leeds United and a point ahead of Newcastle United.
02/01/2021 Sheffield United (h) – Premier League (3pm – Sky)
08/01/2021 Wolverhampton Wanderers (a) – FA Cup (7.45pm – BT)
14/01/2021 Arsenal (a) – Premier League (8pm – Sky)