Crystal Palace made the long journey to Burnley in a match billed as a must in game for under pressure manager Frank de Boer.
|Benteke ’75||Yellow Cards||Brady ’34|
The Expat Eagle’s Verdict
I can remember a time when the international break was a welcome 12-14 day period when supporters of teams, who are not among the more glamorous, could escape by following England batter a hapless nation.
These days England are looked upon as something players have to do instead of something they want to do and the international break ends up being more torturous than the Premier League.
That is unless you support Crystal Palace!
Manager Frank de Boer knew he had to change something for the visit to Burnley and while we have got used to the first 11 picking itself, today we were treated to a few surprises.
To begin with it was a surprise to see Milivojevic dropped to the bench and Chung-Yong Lee starting on the left. Another surprise which got a few people scratching their heads was the inclusion of Levi Lumeka on the bench.
In fact, such was the obscurity of the academy graduate that when the TV asked Palace media team about the player they apparently replied “who?” and had no information on him.
I guess in hindsight there is a lot to be said for playing the same team. We fan bemoan that there is a lack of surprise then when it is a different team each week we bemoan at the lack of consistency. It’s the law of the sod!
Before kick off Twitter was awash with fans arguing about Lee’s inclusion. It seemed his fans were upset that he receives so much criticism and most said that today he’d show why he was given a starting role by de Boer.
Just 170 seconds passed when Lee received the ball on the left, just inside the Burnley half. He had no way forward so he turned to go back towards Palace’s goal. He looked up once, he looked up twice and played a ball across the field straight to Burnley’s striker Chris Wood who with his first touch curled the ball past the stranded Hennessey and into an empty net.
Lee repaid the manager’s faith and confirmed what we all knew. He isn’t Premier League quality. In the summer Lee turned down a chance to rejoin Bolton. The less cynical out there thought it was because he wanted to fight for Premier League football but the rest of us knew it was because he wanted to keep his Premier League wages.
Whatever the case, he stayed and got himself selected and this is how he repaid the faith shown in him. Of course this was a mistake but in truth he did little else of any note for the remainder of his time on the field.
The remainder of the first half was pretty dire from Palace’s point of view and we were lucky to not concede more. We had a good chance towards the end of the first half by Scott Dann but his shot was cleared off the line.
The second half was a much different affair. Palace came out and from the whistle we laid siege to the Burnley goal for the first quarter of an hour. How we didn’t score the good Lord only knows!
Burnley worked their way back into the game but even so the better chances fell to Palace and even after Lee left the field, which we only noticed because Lumeka replaced him, we were unable to get the ball in the net.
Lumeka had a good chance get deflected for a corner, Benteke had a good chance saved and Scott Dann could have had a second half hattrick if he could only hit a cows arse with a shovel!
As the game moved on to the ‘vinegar strokes’ our attacks became more and more desperate as did Burnley’s attempts at defending. Unfortunately their attempts at defending were much better than our attempts at attacking and the game ended with the 3rd minute goal separating the two teams.
You only have to look at the stats below to see the story. Most of Palace’s 23 goal attempts were in the second half, most of Burnley’s 4 attempts were in the first.
All in all I could say we were bloody unlucky but you make your own luck in this game and had de Boer had more balls and started Kaikai instead of Lee, or even van Aarnholt, we would have come away with at least a point.
But to criticise de Boer would be churlish. Over all this was a fine Crystal Palace performance that had everything except the goal the performance deserved.
Yes, you could say Burnley only needed to sit back and absorb the pressure after they scored but as we all know that is a dangerous game. Had we not lost our previous three without scoring we’d shrug our shoulders and say it was one of those games.
But if this game showed anything it is that if we play like that at every game we’ll be okay come the end of the season but we need to register goals and points quickly but with Southampton next at Selhurst Park then away games at Manchester United and Manchester City I honestly can’t see us picking up points any time soon.
Verdict: Reasons to be cheerful and on this showing de Boer should get more time.
|Crystal Palace (433)||6.68||Burnley (442)||7.06|
Match ratings courtesy of WhoScored.
Aerial Duels Won
Match statistics courtesy of WhoScored.