Crystal Palace 4 (Dann 12, Eze 22, Costa og 42, J Ayew 70 )
Leeds United 1 (Bamford 27)
That was a frustrating game to watch! At times Leeds were just as good as their more established Premier League opponents and, of course, we bossed the possession as always. But, for the first time this season, I started to think that, actually, good as our organisation and fitness is, Palace, man for man, were the better footballers.
Who knows what difference the disallowed Bamford “goal” may have made at such a crucial moment and no one can deny that, as so often when in London, Lady Luck didn’t seem to have travelled with us. But, at the end of the day, only the most blinkered Leeds fan could suggest we deserved anything from this game.
That lack of Premier League quality seemed to me to be the main difference today; whereas Palace, like Leicester and Wolves before them had that top league quality on the ball at the crucial moments, it seemed to desert us too often. In the final third in particular, passes went astray too many times or were weak or were too easily read and cleared while our crossing of the ball often looked non-league never mind Premier League. 3 from 10 attempts on target isn’t good enough either. At the other end, our age-old Achilles Heel, corner kicks brought us down yet again and then when you add in a ridiculous VAR interpretation and an unlucky own goal then that lack of individual quality was really needed today to even things up.
There seems to be an issue with Pablo following his clearly upset reaction to being subbed on Monday and, whether we saw a rare example of Bielsa’s heart ruling his head I’m not sure but for me, if Rodrigo can’t play, Pablo must if he’s available. We have no other player able to perform that vital playmaker role, it’s the glue that holds all our pressing and movement together. It was surely therefore a mistake to leave Pablo out and we can only wait to see how this particular act plays out. Maybe we all need a break!
The international break will hopefully help get the squad back to full numbers again and we know, when we can get the right balance on the pitch, the individual player quality that we perhaps do lack is usually more than made up for by our fitness and organisation – we have seen it already this season against better sides than Palace. All is not lost but we need a full strength squad and we need a Spaniard on the pitch pulling the strings, whichever one is available! Have a good break folks!
Crystal Palace Leeds Utd
Possession 35% 65%
Shots 10 9
On Target 6 3
Corners 3 6
Fouls Committed 9 16