Crystal Palace could be set for a change in ownership after almost four-and-a-half years under CPFC2010, with US business news website Bloomberg claiming that talks are underway with an American businessman.
Bloomberg claims a deal is close to being struck between CPFC2010 and Joshua Harris, who co-founded Apollo Global Management LLC.
The American is estimated to be worth $2.7bn, and last year was ranked the 654th richest man, and bought NBA team Philadelphia 76ers as part of a consortium for $280m in 2011, also acquiring Ice Hockey team New Jersey Devils in 2013 for $320m.
The 49-year-old is also a former wrestler, but prefers to spend his time as Senior Managing Director of Apollo, whilst also partaking in Marathons and triathlons.
He was rumoured to be interested in purchasing Charlton Athletic and, this summer, Aston Villa but no bid was made.
It remains to be seen whether Harris is set to take the ownership of Crystal Palace, but CPFC2010 has always said if the right bidder came along they would consider selling the club, having been reluctant owners in June 2010.
The Mirror is reporting that Palace claim to know nothing about the prospective takeover.
Saturday 25th October, 2014. Kick-off 3pm. The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
Big game. Big game.
James McArthur also came off against Chelsea with a hip problem and Warnock confirmed that the midfielder won't be fit for the trip to the Midlands.
For the second game in a row Neil Warnock will be forced to shuffle his defensive pack after Damien Delaney was sent-off against Chelsea last week, meaning the defender will serve his one match ban this weekend.
With Scott Dann unlikely to be risked despite the defender being in light training following a knee problem, Martin Kelly or Adrian Mariappa could move into the vacant centre-half slot alongside Brede Hangeland.
For West Brom, Boaz Myhill is likely to start in goal for the Baggies after stepping in for the injured Ben Foster for Monday night's game against United after the England goalkeeper pulled a calf muscle.
The only other injury concern for Irvine is winger Silvestre Varela who has a groin problem.
Four wins in their last five league and domestic cup matches and possess one of the hottest strikers in the Premier League.
No, not last weekend's opponents, Chelsea but West Bromwich Albion.
We head to The Hawthorns this Saturday to play a team who are in good form and are playing with a confidence that a good run of form brings. Their performance against Manchester United on Monday night showed that and in Saido Berahino, Albion have a player who if given a sniff of goal isn't shy of taking that chance.
Last season was an odd one for Baggies' fans. Fresh from an uplifting season under Steve Clarke, supporters must have been hoping to push on again and aim for a top half finish. Unfortunately for them, their season was a bit of a car crash. Clarke was relieved of his duties in December and after nearly a month of deciding who to bring in to replace the Scot, the West Brom board made the rather underwhelming appointment of Pepe Mel. He did at least last to the end of the season and just about kept the club in the top flight but his tenure will not be looked back upon with too much fondness.
If Mel's appointment wasn't received very warmly by The Hawthorns faithful, then I think it's fair to say Alan Irvine's appointment saw the temperature lowered further. A well respected coach in football circles, Irvine's two spells in management have not gone to plan. He trod water with Preston and failed to prevent Sheffield Wednesday going down to the third tier. While Paul Hart, Dougie Freedman and Palace players celebrated, it was Irvine who had the realities of relegation thrown in his face that day at Hillsborough.
Four years on and he comes up against Palace again but this in the Premier League. Not many people who would have forecasted Palace to be a top flight club, let alone Irvine a Premier League coach.
Only one point ahead of Palace in the league table, despite WBA's decent string on performances and points, they are still expected to be one of the many sides who will be competing at the bottom of the table. Early signs are fairly positive for Irvine though and a few of his signings appear to have slotted into place nicely. Craig Gardner and Joleon Lescott bring plenty of top flight experience with them, on-loan Andre Wisdom appears to be fulfilling potential he showed glimpses of at Liverpool but it's a player whose been on Baggies' books for a while who has caught the eye of most. Craig Dawson has played very well so far this season having finally broken into the first team and if Irvine persists in keeping Jonas Olsson out of the team then the Lescott/Dawson partnership may prove a very solid central defensive pairing.
This isn't a six pointer and I'm not going to tell you it is for dramatisation's sake. That said, another Palace defeat and all of the enthusiasm and positivity that was abound after back to back wins against Everton and Leicester in September could begin to turn into apprehension and negativity.
So, a bit more Goodison Park than KC Stadium, please lads.
Baggies fan Richard Dayus answers some of our questions about Saturday's game.
Not gonna call it a six pointer but basically it's a six pointer. Palace's defence is a worry but the return of Chamakh will help going forward. A high scoring draw, we reckon.
West Brom 2-2 Crystal Palace
Football is back! The FYP podcast is back! JD is back!
Yes, folks, it's time for another FYP pod where the team have a look back at the 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea.
They also look ahead to the trip to West Brom and welcome JD back to the pod from a few weeks away.
They also answer your Facebook messages and tweets.
So join Jim Daly, Kevin Day, James Endeacott and Matt Woosnam for 50 minutes of CPFC chat.
And check out the podcast's lovely sponsors Vektor Printing
A close home defeat to the league leaders and Mark Gardiner is not a happy man...
I think I’ve mentioned this before: I can accept being outplayed – Hell, it was Mourinho’s expensively-constructed Chelsea team out there – but I won’t accept being outfought. Just as against West Ham, Palace forgot those qualities which came to the fore last season. 2-1 was a scandalously flattering scoreline that hid the fact that a supine post-interval Palace didn’t raise a gallop until Campbell’s consolation goal on the brink of the 90th minute. Despite Courtois actually having to make more saves than Speroni the possession stats actually do tell the tale. What they don’t reveal is how easy it was made for the Blues.
Team selection was reasonably straightforward with Hangeland in for the injured Dann, although other changes could have followed the disappointing display at Hull. There was some thought that surely Jose would have come up with some master plan to combat Palace’s tactics, and that at least his team would know what to expect after last season’s glorious bushwhacking. That never actually happened with, in the first half at least, Chelsea’s defence looking decidedly wobbly and Bolasie appearing to have Ivanovic on toast down the left, even if the actual end-product was lacking.
After Chelsea had stroked the ball around for the first couple of minutes it was Palace who had the first good chances, Campbell not profiting from confusion between Courtois, Cahill & Ivanovic and some good work by Ward. From the ensuing corner it looked odds on a Hangeland goal but suddenly bodies flew everywhere and the ball ended up travelling away from goal. If only we could keep it scoreless for as long as possible then perhaps those nerves might trip a Kosta-free Chelsea up...
Sadly Palace were already playing too deep, sitting ten yards inside our half and allowing Chelsea time to build their attacks. Delaney was pulled up for a foul outside our box – from my viewpoint impossible to tell if he played the ball or not, but there was no doubting the brilliance of Oscar’s free kick that looked to stroke the net just inside the far post, technically the keeper’s side but I can’t think of any custodian who might have kept it out. Weirdly that just seemed to get Palace moving, although it was already obvious that Campbell was being isolated up front with midfield runners unable to get up quickly enough to support him.
First Fraizer again caught Cahill napping again but a difficult lob over the keeper with the ball at about chest level had too much weight on it and dropped on the roof of his net. The real disappointment was with his next chance a few minutes later; not with Campbell who, receiving a great pass from McArthur, found himself alone against four defenders, drifted the only way he could (left), beat his man and looked up to find no-one, winger or midfielder, had bust a gut to get anywhere near the box, so was forced into a cross shot that went just wide. Annoyingly that would be our best chance until the match was nearly up.
Despite a paucity of chances after the first 15 minutes it was a fascinating game, Chelsea patiently building while Palace looked to strike on the break. Bolasie more than once was caught between crossing & shooting, and the end result was neither one nor t’other, while later Puncheon had a shot beaten away by Courtois. Defensively Scott Dann’s organisation was missing as the hardly inconspicuous Terry was left unmarked from a set piece, and only a few minutes later there were two of the yellow-shirted b*ggers completely unmarked at the far post.
Unfortunately the referee then became the centre of attention, first by settling for a long conversation with that pillar of society Mr. John Terry instead of the yellow card it deserved. (Conversation probably went along the lines of: “Hello JT. Hope I’m officiating to your satisfaction. Now, I know it looks like I’m scolding you, and we must let them think that, but really, if you want to kick them up in the air, please don’t make it look so obvious, otherwise I can’t turn a blind-eye, can I?”) Within a couple of minutes Delaney was booked, at first for what looked no worse a tackle than that committed by Terry, although it now appears to have been for dissent (also I guess it was technically his second offence having been deemed guilty of a foul for their first goal).
Chelsea had a spell of domination until just after Puncheon’s shot Azpilicueta committed a horribly rash tackle on Jedinak and (to my surprise, not because it was a bad decision, but I just didn’t expect a Chelsea player to actually be dismissed) was shown a straight red. Selhurst came to the boil as Fabregas threw Campbell to the ground (somehow that earned both of them a booking) and we wondered how long it would be until Mr. Pawson evened matters up. Sadly Damo gave him the perfect opportunity with a silly tug-back on Remy – definitely a second yellow but the questionable decision was the first one. Chelsea nearly ended the half with a second goal but Matic headed wide.
I have no idea what Neil Warnock said at half time but it should be boxed up and sold as a depressant. Before the interval Jedinak had dropped into the back four in place of Delaney, which seemed a reasonable idea given that Chelsea had sacrificed Willian and were playing 4-4-1; perhaps the Jedi could bring the ball out from the back. When the team returned Jedi was back in the middle with McArthur lining up at right back & Kelly switching to the middle. However what was noticeable was how flat Palace seemed again, starting in a low tempo and once again sitting too deep, happy to line up just outside our box.
Sadly this tactical inspiration was to collapse within minutes as Chelsea worked the ball on the edge of said box and Fabregas was played into the gap between the out-of-position Kelly & McArthur; his finish deceived Speroni but was perfectly placed about 6 inches inside the near post. After that the second half at times resembled a training match, Chelsea happy to knock the ball around among themselves, much like Mourinho’s first title-winning side, suffocating the game, while our lot stood forlornly in their trenches 20 yards away waiting for the enemy to come to them.
By then Warnock’s plan was abandoned, Mariappa coming on at centre back with the anonymous Ledley withdrawn and McArthur moving back into midfield. That seemed a strange move, damage limitation instead of a call for death or glory – why not switch to 3 at the back and go 3-4-2 to give poor lonely Campbell some support, especially as neither winger now seemed likely to force the issue. Instead the deck was shuffled and we found Campbell, poor as he is at holding the ball up, shunted to the right wing and Bolasie (1 goal in 8 months?) played down the middle where he proved even less adept at ball retention, and missed one decent chance that acme his way.
McArthur the injured himself and, in the period between his leaving the pitch and Warnock’s introduction of his last two subs, Chelsea managed to keep the ball in play (& Palace down to 9 men) for about 5 minutes, with poor Guédioura standing ready to go for all that time; even worse Palace twice gained the ball but, to Warnock’s disbelief, experienced players such as Speroni & Jedinak didn’t thump the ball out until Kelly finally brought some measure of sanity to proceedings. On came Guédioura for McArthur and Zaha for Puncheon, who had virtually disappeared from the game.
The match meandered on, with the standard of Palace’s passing sinking lower, with Ward and Jedinak proving particular inadequate, while Guédioura started well before being dragged down to their level, and even Speroni lamping one halfway up the Arthur. Chelsea couldn’t be bothered to press for the kill and Palace looked disinterested, with the exception of Wilf, who made a couple of decent runs before in the 90th minute switching from left to right, beating his man (Filipe Luis?) on the goal line before cutting inside and setting up Campbell for a poacher’s goal. Suddenly Palace had some fight – why it took them so long to actually start putting themselves in Chelsea’s faces I have no idea, but the last 4 minutes offered an illusion of hope.
The game for me was summed up just before Campbell’s goal when, leading 2-0, Chelsea lost the ball and one of their midfielders streaked back to put in a tackle & the ball out of play. They had done that all match, hard work matching their undoubted skills, while we sat back, losing most 50/50 & second balls. It took a goal to raise the tempo and that should not be the case. A result was possible after half-time with a high tempo pressing game, but we subsided meekly; it might have been high risk but at least make them fight for the win.
Speroni – 6 – Technically the finger could be pointed at Julian as the free kick went in at his side of the goal while Fabregas beat him at his near post, but both finishes were out of the top drawer, and with the second the percentage shot is across the keeper, so Cesc won with a bluff. Apart from that little to do, one easy save in both halves, although one or two kicks were very wayward by the end.
Kelly – 6 – Often seemed to be outflanked & outnumbered in the first half so fluid was Chelsea’s midfield formation. Made one important interception at centre back in the second half to bail out Ward’s error.
Ward - 5 – Looked good going forward at times, setting up a chance for Campbell early on, but today his partnership with Bolasie never quite clicked. His passing grew frayed towards the end, one awful effort setting up a Chelsea break that was inches away from a third.
Delaney – 4 – At first I thought he was unlucky to be dismissed bearing in mind Terry’s escape, but in hindsight if the first caution was for dissent (yes, we were all yelling abuse at Pawson, but he can’t send us off yet) and not what the referee deemed his second foul and the second was that silly tug on Remy when we all knew Chelsea would peremptorily demand dismissal, then he brought a lot of it on himself.
Hangeland – 6 – For a tall man his direction of headers is poor, and I’m not quite sure how he didn’t bullet Puncheon’s corner into the net. Not really caught out by Chelsea’s clever short passing and actually managed a couple of timely interceptions, but without Dann the whole defence was just lacking.
Jedinak – 5 – Decent first half, with the hint of an elbow on Oscar, but game rapidly went downhill after the break when his passes were most likely to find first row in the Old Stand or Arthur than a colleague.
Ledley – 4 – I really cannot recall him doing anything at all. Did he make it past the warm-up this time?
McArthur – 6 – A couple of decent passes in midfield, one peach setting Campbell away, before being shuffled off to right back, then back to the middle and then injuring himself.
Puncheon – 4 – One excellent corner, one first half shot and... well, that’s it. Suppose he can claim Palace hardly had the ball and the chances of receiving a decent pass were pretty remote, but think he disappeared down that hole found so often by Tom Soares.
Bolasie – 4 – As a winger flattered to deceive early on, turning Ivanovic but managing strange hybrids of cross-cum-shots that the beanpole Courtois gobbled up, while his corners were either very bad (way over hit) or very, very bad (finding their first defender about 10 yards outside the near post). As a forward... why, Warnock, why? You’re on record as saying he won’t score again this season and today perhaps proved your point.
Campbell – 6 – Might have done better with his first two chances (the first more than the second) but at least showed Gary Cahill isn’t the next Des or Rio, let alone Bobby and was so isolated he had to make his own. Worked hard even when railroaded onto the right wing where he proved nearly as bad a winger as Yannick is a striker. Kept going and deserved his goal for that alone.
Mariappa – 6 – A substitution that didn’t seem to make sense unless it was damage limitation only, as Chelsea hardly needed to attack by the time Adrian arrived.
Guédioura – 5 – Looked bright at first then his limitations were shown up when he tried to force matters. Doesn’t help when most of your colleagues (Campbell excepted) aren’t moving with any urgency to give you options.
Zaha – 6 – A little bright spark as he tried to beat defenders but also passed the ball where there were better / easier options, and set up Campbell’s goal with the best Palace play of the match.
Saturday 18th October, 2014. Kick-off 3pm. Selhurst Park, SE25
Crystal Palace are back on the road this weekend as they travel north to Hull. The Eagles are looking for their third straight win under Neil Warnock who is unbeaten in the Premier League since he returned to the club in the summer with two wins and two draws.
Crystal Palace will be hoping to bounce back from their disappointing defeat against Hull two weeks ago as they take on league leaders Chelsea this weekend.
Neil Warnock's team suffered a major blow against Hull City with Scott Dann picking up an injury which will keep him out for the next few weeks.
The influential defender has been a key player in Palace's defence and the Eagles missed him after he went off against the Tigers.
It is expected Adrian Mariappa will take his place in the heart of defence although Brede Hangeland is also an option.
Apart from Dann, Warnock has a full squad to choose from and it is expected that the team will stay unchanged.
Palace will be hoping for a repeat of last season's brilliant win against Chelsea at Selhurst Park last season but Jose Mourinho will hope his team learned their lessons from the game.
Chelsea look formidable this season with Spanish striker Diego Costa leading the line convincingly having netted nine times already this season.
Mourinho's team could be without winger Schurrle after the German player missed his country's last qualifying game with a virus, if so Willian could step in to replace him.
Courtois is also expected to start the game in goal after suffering a head injury in their last game against Arsenal.
Chelsea favourite Didier Drogba could also return to the bench after recovering from an ankle injury.
When Palace fans are asked of their favourite memory of last season, the majority will (fairly) state the comeback against Liverpool. Coming back from three goals down against title contenders live in front of the cameras in our last home game of the season was fantastic.
But what about beating Chelsea at home?!
From my viewpoint, that was the team's best performance of the season and at the time was a massive signal of intent that Palace were going to fight with everything in their capability to stay up.
John Terry scoring the winner and laying on the floor with his head in his hands was just a beautiful bonus.
As we wave goodbye to another international break, this weekend sees Jose Mourinho's side visit SE25 for the first time since that day Terry perfectly glanced the ball beyond Petr Cech.
... and this might not be pretty or as enjoyable as last time!
Last season was a disappointment for Chelsea. Defeats such as their's at Selhurst Park, Villa Park and at home to Sunderland derailed their title challenge. They failed in both domestic cups and were thwarted by Atletico Madrid in the semi finals of the Champions League. Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge was supposed to bring back a return of the machine-like side that became the hallmark of his first spell in English football but last season proved there was work for the 'Special One' to do.
That said, it appears that after a year of settling back into his surroundings; Mourinho has a side more suited to his preferred style. The strong muscular core to his team, supplemented by more flair players, has made for a very fruitful combination so far this season. Chelsea currently sit at the top of the league where many expect them to stay for the rest of this campaign.
Three key additions were made to the side over the summer and it's fair to say each of them has proved a fairly astute move on Mourinho's part.
Thibaut Courtois, fresh from his seemingly eternal loan move at Atletico Madrid, has dislodged Petr Cech as number one. The young Belgian's return left his manager with a rather difficult but luxurious choice between a youngster mooted to be the future best goalkeeper in the world and Cech, a man who has won it all with Chelsea in the last decade while becoming a mainstay of the club. Mourinho chose the future and it's likely Cech will leave the club come January. He won't be short of offers.
It's fair to say that most football fans thought that if Cesc Fabregas returned to these shores in a playing capacity, he would be once again be wearing the red of Arsenal.
Well, for the whatever reason, The Gunners didn't take up the first option they had on their ex-captain and Chelsea swiftly concluded a deal to bring him back to London. His form so far this season has been of a man who never left the Premier League. Such is his assurance on the ball, Fabregas has already highlighted what a good signing he will be and what a mistake not bringing him back to The Emirates might prove to be.
Diego Costa has split opinion. Some like his approach to the game; others don't. What is undeniable is he has taken to English football like a duck to water. Nine league goals already is a fantastic return for a player bought to supply the goals to win the league. Continue at the rate he's currently banging them in and he will break the record for an individual's goals in a Premier League season easily.
Costa recently celebrated a birthday and many were left wondering how a man who looks the way he does can only have been around for 26 years.
Seriously. Diego Costa is 26! He would've been in my year at school!
So far, so good for Chelsea this season. The only points dropped were at The Etihad when a certain club icon proved that he can still cut it in the top flight.
Releasing both Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole highlighted Mourinho's annoyance with how last season turned out. Nothing is going to get in the way of Chelsea this season if he gets his way. Not even sentiment.
This Saturday is going to be tough for Palace; perhaps as tough as it's going to be all season but for those there, don't cover your eyes for the whole match.
You may well be watching this season's champions.
Chelsea fan Phil Juni answers some of our questions about Saturday's game.
I don't want to be a doom and gloom merchant but I think Palace are in for a really hard test against Chelsea.
The Blues have looked invincible this season with Diego Costa on fire up front and the midfield looking strong with players such as Matic and Fabregas often controlling games.
I would love for Palace to repeat last season's fantastc result but with Scott Dann injured the Eagle's defence just won't be the same and I think they will be in for their toughest game yet against the likes of Costa, Hazard, Oscar and Willian.
I am praying for Palace to prove me wrong but I think this has a home defeat written all over it. If John Terry decided to play for us again then we of course have a great chance.
Crystal Palace 0 - 2 Chelsea
Michael Phillips scored a hat-trick as Palace's U18 side stormed to an incredible 7-0 victory over Barnsley on Saturday.
The side was captained by England U18 right-back Mandela Egbo, who led by example netting twice, whilst Corie Andrews and Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong added their names to the scoreboard. Gary Jones reports on the action.
The game started quietly with possession evenly shared between the two sides without much in the way of goalmouth action. Palace did have the first goal attempt when on seven minutes, Elliot List fired a snapshot from the edge of the penalty area which forced a diving save from Barnsley keeper Rusling.
The Eagles did, however, take an early lead after 15 minutes when a loose crossfield pass by the Barnsley left-back was intercepted by Corie Andrews not far inside the opposition half and he used his rapid pace to leave both centre-backs trailing in his wake and advance on goal to slot home past the on rushing keeper.
The game was then fairly even for a period and there was no sign of the carnage yet to come; though on 23 minutes a nicely weighted through ball from Will Hoare enabled List to beat the keeper to the ball, but his attempted first time lob was saved.
The second goal of the game came in the 28th minute. A nice period of neat interplay between List, Phillips and Jacob Berkeley-Ageypong resulted in a pass to skipper Mandela Egbo just inside the right hand side of the penalty area, and he dribbled between two men before firing a fierce shot from a tight angle across the goal into the far corner.
Just two minutes later, a Matty George dribble down the left hand side of the penalty area was stopped after he was tripped. Egbo stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way from the spot to make it 3-0.
Two minutes later Andrews almost made it four. Twisting and turning on the left hand side of the box, he reached the byline and pulled back a low cross to Hoare who, under pressure, side foots over the bar.
The 4th goal arrived just one minute later though as Michael Phillips raced clear and lobbed the advancing goalkeeper with a sublime piece of skill using the outside of his right boot to lob the ball over the keeper into the unguarded net.
Palace were not finished there thought and on the 38th minute they made it five. The ball broke to Berkeley-Ageyepong deep inside the area and he slotted neatly under the goalkeeper.
Palace continued to press at the start of the second half and after 49 mins a deflected shot looped high into the air and Phillips out jumped the advancing keeper to head home.
It was full steam ahead for the home side with some neat interchanges and the players moving the ball around quickly, with the only surprise that it took until the 68th minute for the 7th goal to arrive. A good cross provided Bissaka with a close range chance but he saw his effort kicked off the line, the loose ball fell to Phillips on the edge of the penalty area and he curled home a lovely shot into corner of net for his hat-trick. Just a few minutes later, substitute Akiotu makes a strong run down the left and his low cross was fumbled by keeper, List reached onto the loose ball but his shot is cleared off the line.
Understandably, Palace eased off a bit for a period and to their credit Barnsley kept trying to play football. They had a couple of shots from the edge of the penalty area which were easily saved by Pain and then their left-back thumped the bar with a thunderbolt of a free kick.
Palace continued to press for an eighth in the latter stages with subsitute wide man Andre Coker making several eye-catching dribbles past defenders and Bissaka also impressing in the extra space that was becoming available as Barnsley tired. But there was to be no 8th and the final whistle went right on 90 minutes (I think the referee was being kind to Barnsley in not adding any time) with Palace seven-nil victors.
Palace keeper Ollie Pain did not have to make any good saves but was vocal and organised his defence well. The two Centre Backs had a quiet afternoon after the second goal went in but were strong and did not put a foot wrong. Both full backs were able to enjoy a lot of time bursting forward. Hoare moved the ball cleverly in midfield and kept Palace playing at a high tempo.
The two wide men List and Bissaka was impressive and had the beating of their man and List made lots of well-timed clever runs inside between the two CBs. Andrews had a fairly quiet game seeing as we scored 7 but opened the floodgates with a typical finish for him which resulted from his extreme pace. It was good to see Bekreley-Ageyepong back from injury and able to get a full 90 minutes under his belt. He grew into the game and became better the longer it went on. Lots of silky touches from him.
But MOM has to go to hat-trick man Michael Phillips. An intelligent performance in centre mid. Did his defensive duties well but knew when to burst forward and two of his finishes were sublime.
GK Ollie Pain
RB Mandela Egbo
LB Matt George (Jason Akiotu)
CB Christian Scales
CB Jahmal Howlett-Mundle
LM Aaron Bissaka
CM Will Hoare (Olly Bennett)
CM Michael Phillips
RM Elliot List
AM Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong
CF Corie Andrews (Andre Coker)
Palace have received a boost by learning that defender Scott Dann could only be out of action for three weeks.
It was feared the influential centre-back would be missing for months after tearing knee ligaments in last weekend's defeat at Hull.
But a scan showed a grade one tear which is better news that manager Neil Warnock was expecting.
"It's good news in a way, and I've been told he could even do straight-forward running on Monday," he told the Croydon Advertiser.
"It's a grade one injury, which is the best outcome to have.
"It could be three weeks until he's back but then again it could be six.
"When you start training you don't really know, but it's a lot better than I thought. I feared he'd be out for a few months, if I'm honest.
"If he had put a bit more weight on the knee as he's blocked the ball, that might have caused a bit more of a problem."
It means he'll miss the games against Chelsea and West Brom but could be back in the Eagles back line for the clash with Sunderland on Monday November 3rd.
The end of Palace's decent run in the last few weeks came at Hull. Here's Mark Gardiner's assessment...
Hell, Hull & happiness, or so it was said. If the Underworld is damp & a little on the cool side, then I suppose we had the first; the second is given; the third – sadly lacking as a lacklustre Palace conceded a win to an unimpressive Tigers side. Neither keeper had much to do, both sides managing two efforts each on target, as that includes Hull’s two goals you can see how busy Speroni was, while aged veteran Harper was hardly tested by Palace. Hull deserved the win on the basis they weren’t quite as below average as we were.
Unsurprisingly Warnock sent out an unchanged team for the third game running, but it wasn’t to stay that way for long. In blocking a shot on the edge of the box Scott Dann incurred some serious damage judging by the swift calls for a stretcher; it was difficult to see what had happened but it looked like knee or ankle had given way as he fell. On came Mariappa at right back with Kelly switching to the middle. By that time both sides had missed decent chances, Jelavić heading over from a good position, while Jedinak’s free kick after Campbell was unceremoniously dumped on the edge of the box was a couple of feet too high. It was difficult to tell what formation Hull were playing – I understand that nominally it was 3-5-2 with overlapping wing backs, but it looked as though the third defender was playing more as a very deep midfielder. I guess with only one real striker to mark they didn’t need all three.
Hull probably shaded the first 10-15 minutes, with Livermore booked for a nasty looking challenge on Ward, but then Palace’s midfield found the rhythm that had seen off Burnley, and there were a series of moves marked by snappy short inter-passes and runs off the ball, with a lot of progress made down the right where Puncheon featured prominently, well supported by Mariappa. Where this fell down was in three areas: Puncheon’s shooting, which was woefully inaccurate; Bolasie having another of those infuriating days when he tries to take on the world and loses; and Campbell who was having one of those days against his old team where nothing was going right – ball control was lacking, his passing was poor and his runs weren’t in time with the rest of the team.
He also seemed to get on the wrong side of referee Mike Dean (I did suggest leaving at 1:30 when I saw his name on the back of the programme) rarely winning a decision, picking up a cheap yellow for a barely noticeable push, and perhaps there was a case for, if not an elbow, a defender leading with his arm just before half-time. However Palace’s period of semi-domination died out after about 20 minutes and Hull really should have taken the lead, missing three decent chances – a shot across the face of goal slipping past the far post, a free header badly wide, and finally a shot from a central position that was screwed wide. The wing backs were causing no end of problems on both flanks, and it was a concern that attackers were being picked out unmarked in the box. Still, neither keeper had been forced into a save, and the highlight of the first half (if you don’t count Dwight Gayle’s pink boots) was one Hull player somehow losing an argument with the advertising hoardings several seconds after play had been stopped.
Sadly Palace had totally lost the plot after the interval and never approached the relative heights that had attained last week or for that short spell in the second half. They did flatter to deceive with a spell of corners earned by Bolasie’s deflected header but were repelled after some hopeful moments. The passing game was falling apart. Mariappa earned a yellow card diving in on the edge of the box; fortunately, from a similar position to Jedinak’s, the free kick was just over. This sparked a spell of sustained pressure from the Tigers, with one cross from the left being deflected and falling was beyond the striker on the far post; Ward then somehow lost the ball in a challenge he was a favourite to win but the shot was well over the bar. Finally the breakthrough came when a cross from the right found midfielder Diamé making a well timed run and heading in from close range; not sure who he rose above (either Delaney or Jedinak at a guess) but it looked like he had escaped his midfield opposite number.
Campbell’s game ended in ignominy when he was substituted to loud home chants of “Greedy Bastard!” and replaced by Chamakh, then McArthur was withdrawn for Gayle. To say Palace were pretty much an incoherent mess after that would probably be pushing the envelope, but the formation wasn’t obvious to either fans or players and with the midfield now outnumbered and playing nowhere near their best, neither substitute had any impact on the game. Bolasie did actually force a save from Harper with a drilled shot that was straight at the keeper but moving in the air, so it was a far better tip-over than it first looked; Puncheon then missed with a far post header from a corner.
Palace’s poor play now spread to usually dependable lads, one mis-kick from Delaney on the halfway line spooning over his head to set up a counter, before Ledley fatally conceded possession in midfield. Jelavić was set clear with a long run on goal, with Delaney caught out for pace; Kelly did catch the striker but he cleverly turned onto his left to defeat the defender before poking the ball home with his right. Game pretty much over, although a late Delaney header from a corner was statistically our second effort on target before being hacked clear off the line.
The journey home was long & a little miserable, but they always say there’s someone worse off than you. In this case it was a pleasant couple from overseas on holiday who were chatting away with us when we reached their destination Stevenage. Sadly only one managed to get off the train, the other didn’t and ended up at King’s Cross...
Speroni – 6 – Had very little to do apart from field a couple of crosses and pick the ball out of the net twice. Did make it slightly easier for the second by coming out when Kelly still had a chance of blocking the effort, being left stranded when Jelavić did finally poke the ball pasts him. Also had a clearance half-charged down.
Kelly – 6 – Switched to central defence after Dann’s departure where he started well but then some gaps did appear in the middle. Nearly foiled the second goal but was undone by a cute piece of play.
Ward – 5 – Thought he was poor again today, losing challenges he really should win, inaccurate passes breaking up attacks or – worse – setting off a counter-attack. It was his poor pass to Speroni that led to the blocked clearance by the keeper. Had his hands full with Elmohamady who was always a real threat.
Delaney – 6 – In the warm up had a moment where he was feeling his knee, and although he tried as hard as ever, the centre of the defence wasn’t as solid as usual, Hull making four decent chances around the six yard box in the first half. Had no chance of catching Jelavić for their second, being caught flat-footed by Ledley’s error, and was denied a consolation goal by a goalline clearance.
Dann – 6 – His absence was obvious as Kelly & Delaney didn’t look a solid partnership; it does sound bad. Still, at least we can use Hangeland, or recall Paddy or Ramage...
Jedinak – 6 – Played well, especially in the first half, but gradually eased out of the game in the second and then outnumbered in the middle. Must say his short passing game has improved immeasurably.
Delaney – 5 – As Sven kept saying, first half good, second half not so good, culminating in his loss of possession gifting them the decisive second goal. As opposed to Campbell he received a warm welcome back to his old club from the home fans.
McArthur – 6 – Trite to say Palace’s game fell apart after he departed, but there is an element of truth in that, although the game had been slipping from Palace’s hands from before the interval. I was surprised James was sacrificed for a second striker instead of the more prosaic skills of Ledley.
Puncheon – 6 – Good first half when he was involved in most of Palace’s best moments, although his shooting was poor; unfortunately while his display wilted in the second half his shooting didn’t offset that disadvantage, with one awful effort, and also missed a more difficult headed chance at the far post.
Bolasie – 5 – His first corner kick sailed 15 yards too long and that pretty much summed up Yannick’s day as he always hinted at making a break but never quite did, either running (as usual) into one defender too many, showing strangely poor ball control at times (at others would kill a difficult 30-yard ball stone dead) along with poor passing in both thought & execution. Strange to say then that he had perhaps Palace’s two best chances with a header deflected just over and a shot tipped over by Harper. Was a candidate for substitution saved by fact we’d used them all up.
Campbell – 4 – Not popular in these parts – they see him as some kind of footballing mercenary (have they noticed who their manager is?) – but his image may have gone up a little given how poorly he played. Nothing went right from the moment when nearly slipped free on the edge of their box only to be dumped to the ground early on. After that the ball would bounce off him, he’d make a run only to find his timing was just out. Sadly he needs to hold up the ball and he couldn’t manage it, meaning some good midfield play would break down.
Mariappa – 6 – Thought he did well in the first half, especially helping Puncheon out in the attack, although found their left wing back a handful. Second half his play suffered as the team’s display dipped, and it was his flank the cross came for the first goal.
Chamakh – 5 – Almost totally anonymous.
Gayle – 4 – Was totally anonymous (save for the pink boots).