Eaglesbeak - A bridge too far
It has been a very decent few weeks in the Premier League for Palace.
A division we looking completely lost in under the guidance of Holloway is now looking a real mouth watering prospect as we did in and show what we are really made of.
Five games with three wins and a draw gained but the biggest positive has to be only conceding a solitary goal in that period. This record is taken to West London to take on a very indifferent Chelsea side that is once again under the management of the ‘special one’.
Only one change was needed by Pulis which was enforced. The early departure of Dean Moxey from the win at home to Cardiff meant that Adrian Mariappa stepped in.
Speroni, Mariappa, Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Bannan (Bolasie), Jedinak, Dikgacoi (O’Keefe), Puncheon, Jerome, Chamakh (Gayle)
The once daunting prospect of pitching up at Stanford Bridge no longer had the same air about it. Palace were a team full of confidence taking on the home side coming off a recent loss to Stoke the previous weekend and a midweek game in the Champions League.
Early run for Jerome who gave Luiz a little nutmeg before Terry cleared. Plenty of Palace players behind the ball though which forced Chelsea to shoot from distance. It was one from Willian that the goal came from. The effort was pushed onto the post by Speroni but it fell to Torres and even he was never going to miss from there.
When all you could hear throughout the ground was the Palace faithful, it was the ultimate boost to the players who responded in perfect fashion. A run down the wing from Joel Ward which he crossed for the one and only Chamakh. And boy did he take it well, clearly the touch of a striker in form and one that is quickly making quite a cult following for himself. This gave the players even more confidence but they found themselves behind again through Brazilian Ramires who unleashed from outside the area giving Speroni no chance just ten minutes before the half. For the second game running, Pulis had to make a first half change with KG going off injured and O’Keefe replacing him.
Even at half time the fans had a lot to cheer with the appearance on the pitch of former Palace and Chelsea defender Danny Granville.
The second half had plenty of chances and pressure from Palace. Never given a hope before the game but this was far from one sided. The home side were poor in the second half and the players donning the evil sash kit sensed it. Chances came and went for Jerome, Delaney, Puncheon and Bolasie but no change in the scoreline. Chelsea will know they have had a game and it was hard earned victory for them and within two points of the top spot. You would argue that Palace did enough for the draw and perhaps on a different day it could have been just that. More importantly was the fact that we were never out of this one.
It was a fine performance from Palace in truth, even in defeat. The confidence was there for all to see and the team are battling hard for each other. A real blast to what we achieved last season and it’s a welcome return. We should not be disheartened by this defeat as there was a lot more positives to come of out of it.
And those travelling Palace fans. Proud to call myself a Palace fan with such fantastic support as that. Getting the plaudits and love from the rest of the Premier League at the moment and long may it continue.
Here is the view from the guys at Palace Fan TV that they allowed us to share with you;
We asked for the post match views from the guys at Chelsea Stats who had this to say;
Palace gave it a good go and caused a few problems but Chelsea dominated possession and completing more passes in the final third than Palace had the entire game. We deserved all three points in a game that should have been easier than it was.
My pre-match prediction was a 4-1 victory with two goals coming late on. I was almost right but was denied by our inability to convert some very clear chances. Oscar and Ramires breaking through to have a three on one against Speroni and still failed to score. Later Schurrle was involved in some good one touch triangles to get in on goal but once again Speroni saved and again to stop Ba on the rebound. We should have been out of sight.
Essien was my man of the match. The Ghanaian received a bit of stick after a poor half against Southampton but today he dominated the midfield and was the top player for passes completed, take-ons and ball recoveries. He was always looking to pass forward. I think he was a bit lucky with one challenge that could have changed the game, it looked two-footed from my view in the Matthew Harding lower but seeing it again on television it looked more like his standing leg slipped and his legs were apart and studs were never raised to cause any harm so a red would have been a harsh.
Hazard was fouled once in the game but was bundled off the ball countless times that the official, Mark Clattenburg, chose to ignore. He was my ‘one to watch’ pre-match having shone against Sunderland and against Stoke but he was pretty quiet and managed to completed just two of seven take-ons in the game but did create six chances, one of which Ramires scored the winning goal. I think Palace did well to nullify him to a certain extent but Hazard would probably admit it wasn’t his best performance either.
Chelsea have scored at least two goals in thirteen straight home games in the league now and Palace have lost every time they have conceded two or more. Palace will need to stop conceding and to score more to survive but they look like a side capable of staying up giving their commitment and desire right up to the end at the Bridge.
Pulis speaking post match suggested a couple of additions in January to help the team but seemed pretty pleased with the team’s effort. I don’t think a result away at Chelsea or any of the so-called big teams will impact the Eagles’ survival fight, they will need to beat the teams around them and I’m sure they can do that.
I think Palace fans will be disappointed to not have nicked a point but the result turned out to be quite good for them. Lots of teams around them failed to win and Palace only took minus one on the goal difference whereas teams like Norwich have gone away to the big teams have been hit for seven. That might be crucial come the end of the season. With news that Steve Clarke has lost his job at West Brom it is yet another club who will end up in a dogfight for survival which should only be good news for Palace.
Best of luck for the rest of the season.
Article written by Jay Crame