After a close nil-nil draw vs Everton in our first home game of the season, Crystal Palace went to Bramall Lane to take on newly promoted Sheffield United.
Notorious for our consecutive slow starts to the season, the eagles seemed to live up to this expectation after facing a 1-0 defeat in our first game on the road. Should fans be concerned already? Let’s take a look into what happened in a pretty lacklustre game.
As the teams came out to the roar of the fire cannons, us fans were also expecting an explosive, energetic afternoon and we got just that with an early chance 5 minutes into the first half with a long ball from Luka which nicely fell into the path of Zaha who delivered the ball in the penalty box to Benteke, but with the low shot aimed straight for Dean Henderson the threat was quickly eliminated.
The next 15 minutes of the game were anyone’s for the taking but no real threat came from either side until a penalty shout from the Blades was dismissed by the referee, which gave Townsend the advantage to fly down the pitch with speed, getting past Basham before finding Zaha in the box, who’s attempt won a corner but we were unable to create anything that would unsettle the Blades too much.
Just on the brink of halftime, we found ourselves nearly going 1-0 down, we completely fell asleep giving the ball away cheaply which allowed Utd to get the ball into the box leaving McGoldrick unmarked, to take the shot at goal. Guaita came to our rescue, saving the attempt, enabling us to keep a clean sheet before halftime.
As the second half whistle blew and the remainder of fans still taking their seats we yet again found ourselves in hot water, defensively we just fell apart and there just seemed to be no communication or even awareness we were in any sort of danger. Guaita saved the first shot made by Freeman, but we didn’t get the ball out of the danger zone quick enough before Lundstram took the chance and blasted it home for Sheffield United.
However, Palace were quick to respond after going a goal down but no luck prevailed as Townsend’s shot at goal was pushed away by Henderson.
An hour into the game and there seems to be no desire from the team to create anything whatsoever, even when Zaha got the ball he was only making it past the first man. We just completely went missing, the team was organised but to the point we resembled statues as if our movement had been restricted.
Subs came on, McCarthy made his debut, Schlupp who was making his return back from injury and McArthur who came off for Wickham in an failed attempt by Hodgson to try and bring some creativity so we could at least take a point back to Selhurst Park.
Seven minutes of injury time were added on, as if a last chance lifeline had been thrown at us to try and get something out of the game but time whittled down and the final whistle blew without us getting a shot on target in the second half.
A very disappointing game, we looked absent in the second half not even creating one shot on target. If the result tells us anything it’s that we are in desperate need for a centre forward, someone who can create chances, someone young with energy, I think we will have another battle of a season if we don’t address this issue in the January transfer window, without taking into account the likelihood of Zaha leaving us too.
With another difficult game at Old Trafford looming around the corner let’s hope we can improve on this performance and bring some energy and quality to Saturday’s game.