As we all suspected, this was not a game for the neutral but it did produce the ending that we can all dream about for some time to come as the Eagles found an injury time winner to make it four games unbeaten against rivals Brighton.
22nd February 2021
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-2 Crystal Palace
American Express Community Stadium, Village Way, Brighton BN1 9BL
Behind closed doors
Referee – Kevin Friend
Assistants – Simon Beck, Eddie Smart, Keith Stroud (fourth official)
VAR – Simon Hooper, Darren Cann (assistant)
BOOKINGS – Dan Burn (53), Joel Veltman (84)
RED CARD – none
Jean-Philippe Mateta (26), Joel Veltman (55), Christian Benteke (90)
TEB MAN OF THE MATCH
Fans craved a performance against the rivals and while it was far from perfect, that is pretty much what we got with a hard fought battling performance with two excellent goals taken from minimal chances. Let’s be honest, to score a winner in the final minute of injury time against your rivals to seal all three points is stuff that dreams are made and this one will go down in folklore. If we are being critical, the surrendering of the midfield and possession too often could have cost us but for a staunch rearguard action throughout the game. Who needs high possession and chances stats when all you need is to be clinical in front of goal? Certainly not right now we don’t!
VIDEO ASSISTANT REFEREE
Nothing of note
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.
“Before the game, especially after our past two performances, fans on social media were demanding passion, commitment and desire. Even though it wasn’t pretty, it’s what the players delivered. The result against our rivals was everything. Two touches in the opposition penalty area resulted in two top class finishes to gain all three points. Clinical. Our formation switched from 4-3-3 to 4-5-1 and even sometimes to a 4-2-3-1. Although we were on the back foot for long spells surrendering possession, we went back to basics remaining less open and more compact defensively than in the previous games against Burnley and Leeds. A back to wall team performance was exemplified by the work ethic of Ayew and the excellent leadership qualities of Cahill who organised our whole defensive shape. In the context of the season, we can again begin to look upwards. One more win required for safety! Up the Palace.”
31 VICENTE GUAITA (7) – Significant triple save proved important and provided the visitors with the platform to go on and take the win.
2 JOEL WARD (7) – A return to the starting line up and justified his selection by playing his part in a strong rear guard action.
24 GARY CAHILL (8 – TEB MAN OF THE MATCH!) – Solid as a rock in the heart of a defence that he marshalled from start to finish.
8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (7) – One of his better performances of late and no coincidence that it was alongside Cahill.
27 TYRICK MITCHELL (7) – Always seems to benefit from the experience of Cahill in the middle who talking him through the game. Showed plenty of resilience with the early second half onslaught that slowly faded.
44 JAIRO RIEDEWALD (6) – A struggle in the middle of the park for the Dutchman but he just about did enough even if he ended up being deeper than he would like to protect the back line.
4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (6 – CAPTAIN!) – Similar to Jairo, found it difficult in the midfield without much of the ball but defensive duties shone.
10 ANDROS TOWNSEND (7 – ASSIST!) – Much of his game was supporting the back line but one foray forward provided a superb assist to set up Benteke for the all important winner.
25 EBERECHI EZE (6) – Largely anonymous in the game but played his part defensively after struggling to get much possession of the ball all evening. Replaced by 22 JAMES MCCARTHY (6) on 91 minutes to provide some much needed steel in the midfield to see out the game, but of course we did more than just that!
14 JEAN-PHILIPPE MATETA (7 – GOAL!) – Scored with a sublime back heel which went through both the defender and goalkeepers legs for his first in a Palace shirt. Replaced by 20 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (7 – GOAL!) on 75 minutes who came on and immediately had an effort as a sighter before hitting the back of the net with a volley in the last minute to win the game.
9 JORDAN AYEW (7 – ASSIST!) – Hard working effort yet again and produced a fine assist to get Mateta off the mark.
1 Jack Butland, 3 Patrick van Aanholt, 6 Scott Dann, 17 Nathaniel Clyne, 23 Michy Batshuayi, 34 Martin Kelly
26 Sanchez, 34 Veltman, 3 White, 5 Dunk, 33 Burn, 8 Bissouma, 13 Gross, 10 Mac Allister, 17 Alzate, 11 Trossard, 9 Maupay
SUBSTITUTES – 7 Connolly, 14 Lallana (replaced Mac Allister on 68 mins), 15 Moder, 16 Jahanbakhsh (replaced Gross on 81 mins), 18 Welbeck (replaced Alzate on 46 mins), 22 Tau, 23 Steele, 24 Propper, 29 Zeqiri
POST GAME QUOTES
ROY HODGSON –“It’s always great to score in the last minute, especially when we had to soak up a lot of pressure. The defending was very good, they threw their bodies on the line. We worked hard to make certain they didn’t get many sights at goal. We didn’t create as many chances as we’d like but the two we created from crosses were goals. It was important tonight because we haven’t been pleased with our defending recently. We thought we were falling short of our high standards. Tonight from the very start we showed we’d make it hard for them to score. The bodies were there, headers were there, blocks were there. We took maximum advantage from the counter attack. But we’ve had games like that ourselves – against Brighton, against Newcastle. It’s nice to know the old adage about things evening themselves out, they have tonight. We get so hung up on statistics these days. The game is decided by goals. Goals are a question of how well you take your chances and defend theirs. “
GRAHAM POTTER – “It is difficult, a very sore one, we did everything but get the points and that’s the most important thing so we are very disappointed. They were in our box I think twice and scored two, that is the beauty of football but it doesn’t feel so beautiful at the moment, it feels painful. It was a one-sided game in terms of pressure but they scored two, so that’s life. I didn’t think we did so much wrong in the first half, the goal is from one action at our half and you have to respond, which we did, pushed and pushed and thought we were going to win the game – players are distraught but it is part of life and football and we have to deal with it because we have a game at the weekend.”
JOEL VELTMAN – “I think the first half was not our best game. Their goal came out of nothing. We deserved three points. It feels like a robbery of our points. I heard some numbers, unbelievable. They got away with it. The chances, we didn’t kill. They had not even one 100% chance and Benteke scored. We have to score more.”
JEAN-PHILIPPE MATETA – “I am tired! And I am very happy. Jordan Ayew goes, he runs and I see he will cross, I go at the first post and do my finish.
I am very happy because I scored and we won, the team is happy so everything is okay for me. My family, the players, everyone told me how important it was. I am a striker, I hope I will score, it’s my job.”
The Who Scored man of the match was Andros Townsend (7.7) while the most shots were from Joel Veltman and Danny Welbeck (4). The most tackles were by Andros Townsend (5) while Yves Bissouma and Joel Veltman (2) had the most dribbles.
- Team rating: 6.44 – 6.96
- Total shots: 25 – 3
- Shots on target: 5 – 2
- Possession: 74.8% – 25.2%
- Pass success: 88% – 67%
- Passes: 712 – 244
- Dribbles: 9 – 4
- Aerials won: 15 – 17
- Tackles: 11 – 22
- Fouls: 11 – 6
- Corners: 13 – 0
- Saves: 0 – 4
- Dispossessed: 6 – 7
POSITION IN THE TABLE
At the final whistle, Palace were 13th in the Premier League with 32 points from 25 games played, level with Leeds United in 12th and 2 ahead of Southampton in 14th.
28/02/2021 Fulham (h) – Premier League (12pm)
03/02/2021 Manchester United (h) – Premier League (8.15pm)
07/03/2021 Tottenham Hotspur (a) – Premier League (7.15pm)