Delusions of grandeur
First of all let me say I love my team, but I am not blinded by love. I’m honest and not biased in favour of my team and that is something I think sets me apart from a lot of Palace fans.
Take when Liverpool visited Selhurst Park earlier this year and Christian Benteke won Liverpool a last minute penalty. I didn’t like it but it was a penalty. Some Palace fans took out a petition to have Benteke banned from football, interestingly a lot of fans still have that petition on their timelines and were strangely quiet 6 days later when Bolasie did a Tom Daley to win us a penalty at Reading.
In my opinion both were penalties and yet both were not penalties at the same time. To be taken seriously we need to have a consistent opinion and not be blinded by a few cubic zirconias in a mud pie (I cleaned that up for a PG audience).
We need to see the whole picture.
You might be wondering what am I talking about? It is the near rabid delirium that some of our fans received our victory up at Sunderland on Saturday.
I, like most people, was close to orgasm when Benteke scored the last minute winner at the Stadium of Light, perfect payback for their last minute goal last season, but while I was ecstatic at the victory and manner in which we won it didn’t blind me to the fact that we were 2-0 down to a piss poor Sunderland team!
The statistics for the game, which I don’t have at hand, showed that we had double of everything Sunderland did. Double the shots (nor many on target), double the passes completed, double the corners, etc. We played well which explains why we won. So how come we were two goals down to a team that has half as many shots?
Joe Ledley had a momentary lack of judgement and put an inch perfect pass between McArthur, who the pass was intended for, and Tomkins who was marking Dafoe. That’s only part of the story because despite the pass being wayward, Dafoe still had a lot to do! He was under pressure from Tomkins and an advancing Mandanda. That fact he slotted the ball into the net wasn’t as simple a task as it has been made out to be.
No, Dafoe’s 2nd goal was by comparison a simpler chance in what can only be described as confusion in our defence, poor marking and lack of communication.
Both goals were silly and sloppy goals to give away but this has been lost in the roar of praise for coming back to win.
Within 60 seconds of conceding the second goal we snatched one back with a piece of good fortune. Joe Ledley received a ball and swung a boot at it, it struck Van Arnhult’s out stretched leg and was deflected into the net. The initial shot was going wide of the goal, but I’ll take anything!
A lot of fans say it evened things up, I disagree. As I’ve mentioned, after Ledley’s poor pass Dafoe had a lot of work to do we got lucky with a deflection. Ours was luck their’s was a good finish.
That’s not taking anything away from Ledley, you have to be in it to win it. Had he not had a shot we’d not have got the goal, I am merely saying the two things, a misplaced pass and a deflection, are not equal in my opinion.
But we were back in the game. Their heads dropped and momentum swung our way.
Pardew made a substitution, Fryers for Kelly. I was perplexed because Pardew had made a defensive substitution 3 times before this season when we were chasing a goal and I was writing a tweet to that effect when Fryers did a fantastic cross (a la Souare v Watford at Wembley) for McArther to score a great diving header!
If truth be told Fryers could try that again 10 times and probably wouldn’t manage to put that cross in the same space. I’ve been saying that Fryers has looked good in pre-season and maybe, hopefully, he is finding some form and he can get a run in the team.
And so the game went on and we were not getting much luck. The stats say we had a lot of shots on goal. They also say not many of them were on target but Sunderland were making a lot of petulant fouls to break up play.
Pardew made his last substitution when he brought on Chungy and within a minute we won another free kick by the corner flag after Wickham was barged over.
Up until this free kick Townsend had been delivering them and to be honest they were mostly terrible! Don’t get me wrong, a player can’t be on form every game and so it was a good decision to give this one to someone else and up stepped Chungy to deliver the ball for Benteke to head into the back of the net to win the game.
It seemed to be a well worked routine on first sight but after the game you could see Benteke was unmarked and had a 7 year run up to attack the ball. Good for us, but it was piss poor marking from Sunderland and that probably evened up our marking for their 2nd goal.
But what I thought was amusing was what Benteke said after the match. He said that when we won the free kick he told Chungy to put the ball onto the penalty spot, which is where Benteke was hovering. The ball actually went to the 6 yard line which is why Benteke had to go 7 yards to attack the ball.
In other words the ball wasn’t delivered to where it was supposed to be so what looked like a well worked goal was actually a poor cross excellently put away by a very good striker!
So while it was a good victory, a great come back and a massive 3 points you have to look at it in context. We shouldn’t have been two down in the first place and two of our goals were more down to good fortune than well worked plays.
So far we’ve beaten teams who should finish below us, maybe Stoke is the exception, and now we are coming up against teams who should challenge for Europe or the title.
We currently sit 7th in the league and visit Everton on Friday, our 2nd real test this season. If we beat Everton we could go above them and into 4th and I would love to do that especially in front of Bolasie.