Crystal Palace 2 (Edouard 24, Eze 76)
Leeds United 1 (Struijk 10)
9th October 2022, Premier League.
I predicted that Leeds would lose at Palace today, it just seemed to me that Palace were a far better team than their results had suggested, especially since they’d played four of the so-called big six in their opening games as well as facing Newcastle and Brentford, also decent teams on most weekends. BUT, having witnessed Leeds dominate the first twenty minutes today and go a goal ahead, a superb goal created by some magical work from Brenden Aaronson, I suddenly expected us to go on and bring the three points home.
As we now know, that first twenty minutes was the extent of our Sunday afternoon. After that period of complete domination, during which Patrick Bamford ought to have doubled the lead, Leeds faded away alarmingly and Palace took control. We have to start to ask the question as to just how long it is going to take Bamford to get back to the sharp finisher we saw in our first season back in the Premier League. Indeed we have to ask whether what we are seeing now is the normal Bamford and whether that season behind closed doors will prove to be his best for us.
It was not Bamford’s failure to score though that cost us this game, it was our failure to defend – perhaps an even more worrying aspect of our game! Liam Cooper will be kicking himself for giving Palace a needless free-kick in the first place, but our lack of defensive know-how to then allow no less than three Palace players to queue up at the back post to attack a simple ball in is alarming. We thought we had put our set piece defending issues behind us but clearly not.
What went wrong after that Palace equaliser I’m not sure, but we hardly had a kick after that, it was as if all confidence drained away as we saw how easily we’d given up that excellent start, either that, or maybe Palace changed something they were doing, I’m not sure, but we were made to look a very ordinary outfit for the rest of the game and without the spark of invention that Luis Sinisterra brings we looked impotent and there were no more moments of magic from Brenden Aaronson or anyone else for that matter.
It was all very depressing and one now wonders how we can suddenly transform ourselves in time for the visit of the high-flying Gunners next week. OK, if we can recapture that early form of today then maybe we are in with a chance, but if not, and if we see the Leeds side of the second half today then Arsenal will make mincemeat of us.
All of the early season optimism has dissipated now in my opinion and we look more likely to face another long season scraping for points whereas at one point, even at one point this afternoon, we looked like a decent upper mid-table Premier League side. We may still be but we need some evidence very quickly.
Crystal Palace Leeds U
Possession 55% 45%
Shots 13 10
On Target 5 4
Corners 5 3
Fouls 13 23