Five Year Plan

Fanzine and Blog for fans of Crystal Palace Football Club

FYP Podcast 116 - Chelsea, West Brom and MacArthur Park t-shirts

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

Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea: Analysis and ratings from Selhurst Park

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.


FYP Preview: Crystal Palace vs Chelsea (18/10/14)

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. 

Team news


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. 

Possible line-ups

Crystal Palace 

Crystal Palace 4-2-3-1 football formation



Chelsea football formation

Eye on the opposition
By Jack Pierce

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.

Knowing me, knowing you

Josh Esaw takes a look at players who have played for both Chelsea and Palace. Including a very special left back. 

From the other side

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  

Crystal Palace U18s storm to 7-0 victory over Barnsley

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.

Palace line-up: 

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)


Crystal Palace defender Scott Dann facing three weeks on the sidelines

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.


Hull City 2-0 Crystal Palace: Analysis and ratings from the KC Stadium

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).


Crystal Palace 2-0 Leicester City: Analysis and ratings from Selhurst Park

After Crystal Palace's comprehensive 2-0 win over Leicester City, Mark Gardiner looks at the performance in more detail Which leaves Neil Warnock unbeaten since he returned to manage the club.

jedi v leicester

That was probably the most commanding performance I have seen from a Crystal Palace team in the top flight – I missed the 4-1 demolition of Ipswich in 1979 which was previously regarded as our high-water mark. Although we had great wins last season, especially against Chelsea, they were often victories chiselled out through grit, craft and the counter-attack, along with a healthy dollop of good fortune at times and the odd brilliant points-saving stop from Speroni.

This was a step up from those displays with Palace in control for long spells of the match, including virtually the entire second half, against a Leicester team that was no pushover, although I did think glancing at the teams that our squad appeared that much deeper. Every single starting outfield player turned in at least a far better than average performance – and if that sound unfair on Julian then it’s because frankly he had very little to do.

Neil Warnock sent out an unchanged starting XI although both Ledley & McArthur played further forward than at the start at Everton, and both wingers had less defensive duties to concern them. Leicester fielded a quite attacking looking 4-3-3 but despite both sides’ obvious intentions the match took a long time to even approach interesting, the first effort on goal not coming until well after 10 minutes had passed as passes were mis-placed. Vardy’s effort was a good chance and well blocked by Speroni, but that was the Foxes’ only serious attempt at goal in the first half. Palace’s wingers started to cause problems and created chances for Campbell, one which was glanced wide and the other taken off his forehead by Puncheon.

Palace’s midfield exerted gradual control and sparked a spell of chances in short order: a Ledley header was cleared off the line; Puncheon’s cross-shot was saved at full stretch by Schmeichel; and Campbell was wide with yet another glancing header. The work rate of everyone was substantial but the key was probably McArthur, marrying industry and steel with skill, looking every inch worth the record fee paid.

mcarthur v leicester

I felt it was unfortunate that half time came just as Leicester had ceded control, and the start of the second half could have proved that thought true, as Leicester worked a chance that saw a goal-bound shot somehow deflected wide by an almost unknowing Ward. From the second of the corners that followed Ward & Speroni foiled a near post effort.

Yet that was Leicester’s last effort as after that Palace pressed them high up the pitch, suffocating any attacking intent, and if by chance the midfield barrier was breached Damien Delaney inevitably turned up to whip the ball off a Fox’s toes or take down a cross & clear it. Bolasie was starting to make De Laet look inadequate and then two goals came in quick succession from set pieces. A corner was sent to the far post where Jedinak (or was it Dann?) knocked the ball down and Campbell finished from close range.

Three minutes later a Puncheon free kick from the opposite flank found Jedinak whose header was powered past Schmeichel. After that Palace, playing at an intense high tempo, could – and perhaps should – have made the game really safe with Bolasie continuing his Goodison form and Puncheon not far behind. Two stunning moves stood out: an interception and run by Delaney sparking a devastating counter-attack down the left only for Damien to miss the final cross; and a wonderful passing move that ended with substitute Chamakh’s diving header clipping the roof of the net. Quite simply it was almost like watching last season’s home game against City but with Leicester as Premier League ingénues, as Palace towards the end slowed the game down in complete control.

Speroni – 7 – Important early block of Vardy’s effort and helped repel Leicester’s brief assault at the start of the second half, as well as collecting crosses, punching one dangerous one clear, and diving at strikers’ feet. Also seemed to pick up a knock to his thigh. Realistically it should be a 6 but no-one in the starting XI deserves less than 7 on principle!

Ward – 7 – Most important touch was when he got in the way of Nugent’s effort, thus breaking the latter’s evil hex on Palace as he always scores... Fine work at the back and always ready to help Bolasie down the left.

Kelly – 7 – Continues a series of quietly efficient performances with the odd moment of attacking intent as well; could be another of those understated but crucial signings.

Delaney – 8 – Seemed to be everywhere snuffing out even the hint of a Leicester attack. His sheer determination not to be beaten makes up for any perceived lack of ability at the top level. Brought back memories of Jim Cannon’s “mazy’s” with Beckenbauer-like break from the back.

Dann – 7 – Solid hard-working performance – not sure if it was he or Jedinak with the header for Campbell’s goal, but if it was Scott then that just added lustre to another excellentshowing.

Jedinak – 7 – After a quiet start Jedi was instrumental in slowly prising Leicester’s hold on midfield and then turning the screw in the second half, back to his best. Certainly scored one and may have made another. His passing was much, much better as well.

Ledley – 7 – Another who helped crush the life out of the Foxes, doing a lot of the unglamorous defensive work but unlucky not to score with a first-half header.

McArthur – 8 – Simply outstanding, could be the piece that helps us move on from Pulis’s hard-working grafting side to Warnock’s hard-working, grafting and skilful side. His arrival appears to have lifted some of the burden from Jedinak, allowing the skipper greater freedom and time on the ball. Showed an excellent range of passing allied to a willingness to work hard, put in the tackles and won a number of balls inthe air; even saw out the whole game despite picking up a knock late on.

Bolasie – 8 – The only thing missing from this week’sperformance was a goal and Bolasie came close on a couple of occasions. He saw off yet another fullback who couldn’t cope with the trickery & pace, then switched to show up Konchesky’s deficiencies. On this form will do that to better opponents than De Laet.

Puncheon – 7 – Not far behind Bolasie in potential threat and his set piece delivery caused Leicester no end of problems.Only denied a goal by Schmeichel’s agility.

Campbell – 7 – Worked damned hard, exemplified by his closing down of Schmeichel & block of a clearance. Withbetter luck would have scored more than the one he did, but playing with obvious confidence looked a far better part of the functional Palace team.

Chamakh – 7 – If only his header had been a few inches lower then we would have had a goal to rival Cannon’s on that afternoon in ’79. Gave the ball away a couple of times as hegrew used to the pace of the game but also held the ball up well, creating openings for others.

Guédioura – 6 – Late substitute who had little time to show he too could reach the same level of performance.


Crystal Palace 2-3 Newcastle: Analysis and ratings from Selhurst Park

After Palace suffered a 3-2 defeat after extra time against Newcastle in the Capital One Cup, Mark Gardiner assesses the Eagles' performance. Didn't fancy a late October trip to Manchester anyway...

So, after a late night, a full day of spreadsheet surfing and no opportunity to see any clips of last night’s game, it’s all up to my hazy memory to make some sense out of last night’s clash. The game was always enjoyable, with both sides trying to play good attacking football, but Newcastle had the edge in a slightly stronger team and probably deserved their narrow win.

Warnock elected to make the full eleven changes to the starting XI with a 4-1-4-1 formation. Of note was Fryers making a debut at left back, a diminutive central midfield pairing of Williams & Bannan, and Wilf starting wide right with Gayle wide left. With Guédioura as the holding midfield player the centre lacked the steel that Jedinak, Ledley or even departed KG provided, so there was the promise of some passing football. While this was attempted the old problems of a weakened team came to light in a lack of cohesion – many good looking moves were cut short when the final ball or run was sub-standard – while several players were short of game-time. Another issue with the formation was that Gayle rarely stayed wide and often the defence lacked an out-ball mostly down the left, although Zaha & Gayle did swap wings occasionally.

The opening was quiet although Gayle’s early snap shot whizzed just wide. Palace chances in the first half were at a premium: Doyle seized on a defensive error but lacked the pace to pull clear of the cover, while a Bannan free kick was tipped over. Newcastle saw a lot of the ball but didn’t do much with it, and we were treated to the sight of Hangeland & McCarthy playing cross-field passes as Palace looked to build from the back. The first opening came when Zaha down the left for once beat his marker but didn’t quite escape him; I thought the tackle made contact with the ball so was pleasantly surprised to see a penalty awarded; Gayle’s effort beat Elliot for pace. Newcastle responded by making ground down the flanks, particularly our left, and a number of crosses fizzed into our box with no one seemingly able to get a decisive touch, with Hennessey making a couple of awkward-looking stops while Hangeland made a couple of good interceptions. The goal seemed to come out of nowhere, Rivière turning Hangeland on the edge of the box and suddenly appearing in so much space, and his effort was so perfectly placed in the corner that Hennessey didn’t move.

The second half started with a penalty for Newcastle. When Ameobi picked up the ball on the right side of our box and was faced with McCarthy, his winger audibly informed him: “Run at him!” He did and Paddy couldn’t deal with the threat, bringing the striker down for a clear spot kick, which Rivière put in about the same place as Arfield’s a couple of weeks ago but Hennessey was unable to repeat Speroni’s feat. Newcastle seemed content to play on the break as Palace took some time to settle, with both Gayle & Bannan sending decent chances over the bar; in return Hennessey had to tip over a shot from distance. The return of AJ in place of Doyle added some pep and as the second half drew to a close Gayle had a header that looked from our end to have just slipped past but seems to have come off the post. Young Kaikai and Gray were thrown on with Palace switching to 4-4-2 but it seemed that our chance had gone when Kaikai forced the ball past Elliot at the second attempt in stoppage time; I thought the cross from the right came from Mariappa, who by that time was playing at centre back, so what he was doming there…

Extra time saw Abeid dismissed for two yellow cards which gave Palace the edge in men; the Toon simply sat back and looked ready to play for penalties (how Pardew has the gall to complain about Julian’s time wasting given Elliot’s display beats me!). They looked to have been undone when a fine shot from Gayle hit the net but the flag had been up several seconds before. Almost from the free kick Newcastle made ground down our right and some fine wing play (from Haïdara?) set up a chance for full back Dummett to score from inside the six-yard box. Palace tried hard and in one late scramble a Mariappa header was blocked and Hangeland did put the ball in the net but the whistle had already gone.

Hennessey – 6 – No chance with any of the goals, made a couple of scrambling saves in the first half and one good one in the second. Looked comfortable under the high ball.

Mariappa – 6 – Started at right back but ended at centre half. Not sure where he was when Ameobi’s run into the box was terminated by Paddy’s clumsy challenge, or for Dummett’s winner, but am almost certain it was his cross for Kaikai’s goal.

Fryers – 5 – Not easy to make your debut in a scratch side when you are lacking competitive practice so was relatively unimpressive.

Hangeland – 6 – Thought he had a mixed game, mostly good with a couple of tackles that you didn’t expect a player of his physique to make, but his lack of agility was pounced on by Rivière’s turn for their first goal. Was a threat to their goal but I want to look again at the winner to see what his role was.

McCarthy – 5 – Badly embarrassed by Ameobi for their penalty and also made a very loose pass that nearly let them in during the first half.

Guédioura – 6 – Mixed game as defensive midfield doesn’t really seem to be his forte, with his challenges a little rustic looking. Did make some decent passes but his shooting… one was dragged so far wide it was frankly embarrassing. Late on suffered from cramp and a blow inflicted by Abeid.

Williams – 6 – Thought he was our best player in the first half, as though trying to make a point, although lack of physical presence did lead to him being eased off the ball more than once. Faded in the second half, one pass in our half setting off a Newcastle attack.

Bannan – 7 – Not the perfect display and I wouldn’t fancy a midfield pairing of Barry & Jonny in the Premier League, but probably our best player, especially in the second half. Set piece delivery was variable, with a couple of free kicks wasted compared with one that drew a save from Elliot, while his shooting from open play could also use some work. Did get stuck in and harass the opposition.

Zaha – 5 – Looked short of pace in the first half – even when winning the penalty he was caught up by the defender he’d beaten. Tried hard but seldom broke free, coming in for some tough tackling that occasionally edged into the realms of foul play, escaping once in the second half to set up a chance. Compare his display with the move that brought the Toon winner, which was more like the Zaha of two seasons ago.

Gayle – 7 – Not sure if he was meant to play wide or as a second striker, although he ended up as the latter from about the middle of the second half. Had plenty of efforts on goal, some good (snap shot wide, header just wide / clipping post), some bad but always a threat. Penalty beat keeper for pace.

Doyle – 5 – Worked hard but lacks the pace to seriously worry good defenders, exemplified by intercepting a ball halfway inside their half but being caught from behind by the covering defence. Did win several balls in the air but usually so deep that nothing came of them.

Johnson – 6 – Intelligent running but not surprisingly no longer blisteringly fast so unable to seize on half chances that came his way, his one shot weak.

Kaikai – 6 – His first touch gave the ball away deep in our half, so it could only get better, which it did with his reactions to have a second stab at a late chance to register a debut goal. Did look a little lost at times in terms of positioning and gave the ball away with some poor passing, and was it his man who scored the winner? There’s enough to work with there.

Gray – 6 – Came on at right back and put in a good display, especially going forward, with a couple of good crosses.