CRYSTAL PALACE (A) – THE REVIEW

29/09/19

Another away day, another 2-0 defeat. Here's Matthew McGregor reviewing his day at Palarse.

Random Star Performer

This was my first trip back to Selhurst Park since the last time I absolutely vowed never to return after a turgid wind swept game, so it was disappointing to see Norwich succumb to another 2-0 away defeat in a somewhat windy and occasionally turgid game.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom by any means but there weren’t many standout performances. Ben Godfrey playing with a head wound, and a Terry Butcher bandana to boot, was solid. Beyond that? Well, fair play to Jamal for playing with a potential broken elbow, but not sure that counts towards a star baker award.

Moment of the match

The penalty, unfortunately. Why, why, why would you challenge a player with his back to goal with a load of other defenders around you. It was a bad call (with even Farke calling it out publicly after the game) and it set the game on its course.

I want to take a moment to use the soapbox afforded me by ACN to make a plea: please, please, can we not be a team whose fans chant “VAR, VAR, VAR” after a controversial decision. It’s the football equivalent of being a grass at school - even if you’re right, everyone still thinks you’re a bit of a wanker.

The penalty itself was an absolute peach, totally unstoppable. I hope someone at Colney was taking notes. We have been, and were today, in trouble once we needed to come from behind and we never really looked like taking three points once Palace were ahead.

Weekend whinge

Going to Selhurst Park is desperate stuff, even if you already live in London. Getting from one side of Norfolk to the other is easier than getting from north west to south east London. It’s a stadium with an aura of the 1990s, but without the hint of romanticism of that era. Bad seats, bad views and a borderline dangerous concourse. This trip is comfortably up there as one of the downsides of being in the Prem.

Biggest positive to take

We don’t have to go back to Selhurst Park again this season.

Farke Watch 

Properly wrapped up warm against the blustery micro climate that means it’s always windy and rainy in Selhurst, Farke is running short of options. He tried getting things going with a relatively - for him - early substitution of Stiepi for Drimic but the latter failed to capitalise.

Atmosphere rating

A very full away end is now absolutely standard, and was in decent voice for large stretches of the game, especially considering the struggles on the field.

The “Holmesdale fanatics” in the home end have made great strides since I was last at a game here. Their flags leave a lot to be desired (I counted a grand total of four) but they kept up a steady drumbeat throughout the game, possibly helped by a very enthusiastic, shirtless, capo.

By the way, Crystal Palace; we can probably do without the cheer leaders after halftime, it’s 2019 icymi.

Summary

When Punt got in touch on Friday to ask if I’d do the review honours for this game, I replied, “I can write it now: Selhurst Park is shit, we are always shit there and were again today, Man City feels like a long time ago, Farke's black jacket was weather appropriate for the first time this year." You can call me a jinx, you can call me a miserable pessimist, but you cannot say I was wrong.

This was a good old fashioned Saturday 3pm kick off Championship game, but unlike the games we played in the actual Championship last year, we just weren’t at the races for most of the game. Some good chances were created in the last 15 minutes of the first half but they didn’t look all that close to being taken from my vantage point.

Our options are limited given almost our entire first team is injured but a couple of concerns standout. First, without someone robust anchoring things in midfield, we really lack protection for the defense and something going forward (there were an alarming number of hopeful long balls to Pukki as the game went on.) It is a head scratcher that Amadou hasn’t moved into this role. Secondly, we have a problem up front. Drmic has had a few chances and the results so far are slightly reminiscent of a certain wolf. We are indescribably fucked if Pukki gets injured.

We’ll have games like this all season. It’s going to happen in the Premier League. We can’t panic, we can hope things click better against Villa, we can keep trusting Farke. And we can just be grateful we don’t have to travel to Selhurst Park for at least a year.

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