I am one of the co-founders of Give as you Bet, and a major Palace fan who had his first season ticket in the old Whitehorse Lane stand since the 95/96 season. This website was newly created by many different football fans as a way to help raise money for charity – and I am proud to be the Crystal Palace representative. I will do my best to review each and every remaining game of the season, and would really appreciate any feedback along the way.
So let's start with my ratings for the game against Liverpool.
Speroni - 4
It was hard to see someone we all love so much make such a howler, virtually handing the game to Liverpool. He could possibly have done more for Liverpool’s first also – but it will be Milner’s cross that will hurt him most.
He actually started the game very well, making a great save after the defence switched off momentarily in the first half. His distribution was also very good. But in all honesty it was a game to forget for the Palace legend (who is pushing 40) and an unfortunate reminder that we are in desperate need of bringing in a new goalkeeper before deadline day.
Wan Bissaka - 6
Once again showed great composure on the ball. The one time he did lose it in the first half, he showed an ever bulldog like tenacity to win it back, which was great to see and something we have become accustomed to since he broke into the first team. He also made some great clearances and blocks throughout the game.
Was slightly out of position for Liverpool’s fourth, but replays show that the ball was handled to keep it in play before Mane was released.
Tomkins - 7
Was solid throughout which is strange to say for a centre back in a game where we have conceded 4 goals (but two deflections and a goalkeeping error do put things into context). Made some very good interceptions, and did brilliantly to tackle Keita on a rare Liverpool counter after we had pushed higher up the pitch.
I think we are the second lowest scorers in the league from set pieces (after Fulham), so it was nice to see him score from a corner also, which should instill more confidence in the team to get more from set pieces in our remaining games.
Sakho – 6
I waited for his inevitable “first 10 minute clanger” and it never came! In all seriousness, the reason why he sometimes tends to give the ball away early in dangerous positions is because he loves playing the ball to feet. His passing accuracy is actually very good overall, and this game emphasized this - even if that flick on the edge of the area was heart in the mouth stuff.
The first half especially showed the quality he possesses, as his positioning and strength in the air were colossal. Could possibly have been a bit quicker to react to the deflection for Liverpool’s first – but overall a solid display.
Van Aanholt - 5
Something is not quite right with him at the moment. Looked nervous at the beginning of the game with a few mis-placed passes. He also struggled positionally throughout by switching off for a few crosses.
After taking responsibility from Sakho for the clearance that led to Liverpool’s first, he has to do much better. He did get forward to release Wilf for Andros Townsend's goal which was good to see, but he needs to do more to show the quality we all know he has.
Townsend - 7
He had a quiet start to the game which was inevitable against Liverpool away, as we were always going to set up as we did against City. He did switch off once defensively in the first half hour by not tracking a run down the left, and was also fortunate to get away with a handball inside the box.
On the plus side, he popped up quite beautifully to finish off a great team goal for our first (the kind of goal he has been looking to add to his game), and played a big part in our third also. He was another player that seemed to grow in the game, especially after the hour mark where he looked more dangerous on the ball, which was epitomized by a nasty tackle on him from Keita.
McArthur - 7
Ran himself ragged throughout the game and made a few good interceptions. He actually played a huge part in our first goal as he escaped Liverpool’s high press with aplomb, taking out two or three players in the process before releasing Van Aanholt in acres of space.
He let Mane go for one corner and seemed to tire slightly in the second half - but overall a decent display from the Scotsman who was replaced by Max Meyer 6 (81’) in the final ten minutes, who scored a lovely goal to finish off another great Palace team move. He didn’t have too long to impress but showed some nice touches around the half way line. He will be hoping to push for a start in the next game.
Milivojevic – 7
Another player who ran himself to the ground for the Palace defensive cause in the opening exchanges. Grew into the game more from an attacking perspective after the hour mark with a few nice runs and lay offs. His passing definitely seems to have improved from how it was at the beginning of the season. He made a great tackle on Salah towards the end of the game to stop a dangerous attack, but was fortunate not to be booked for a challenge on Mane in the opening twenty minutes. He can be happy with his days work, a decent captains display.
Kouyate - 6
Another player who did not stop running, but did not have quite the same impact as Milivojevic and McArthur. Made a few good blocks and had more touches in the second half, but I am starting to wonder if having three relatively defensive minded midfielders will be the best way to go in upcoming games against teams who are not quite of Liverpool’s stature. Seemed to get injured before being replaced by Schlupp 5 (75') for the final 15 minutes or so. He tried his best to get involved in the limited time he was on, but just like Meyer, did not have enough time to make an impression. He did miss one decent chance however.
Zaha - 8
There was talk before the game about his lack of goals in recent matches, but this has never worried me too much, as performances such as this is exemplifies what Zaha is all about when played in his correct position.
He instilled fear into Liverpool’s defence all game long playing on the left, which is where I feel he is most dangerous as he has the capability to cut in and shoot, plus he can get crosses in with his left foot - as we saw with his assist for Townsend’s goal. He drew many fouls, sometimes with four or five Liverpool players around him, creating space for others, and of course was the reason for Milner’s red card. I think what I liked most about his performance was his decision making - he dribbled at the right times, crossed when was needed and drew fouls at times when we needed a breather.
A top notch performance from an attacking perspective that was only marred by him not getting on the scoresheet himself. Only slight criticism was that he switched off in the build up to Liverpool’s third.
Ayew - 6
He started the game well and was our liveliest attacking outlet for the first half hour or so in a game where he knew he wasn’t going to get many chances. He tracked back, and his hold up play was much better than in previous games. He also linked up well with Wilf on a few occasions, but he then seemed to fade after he was booked. He came back into the game more after the hour mark as we pushed up more collectively, and made a nuisance of himself in the box for Tomkins’ goal by distracting the Liverpool defence with his movement. Was subbed for Connor Wickham 6 (81’) who offered something different up top, and produced a fantastic touch to assist Meyer. Whether his running off the ball was good enough to push for a start in the next league game though I am still not sure. The cup game next week should be a good indicator if he gets a chance.
Thank you for taking the time to read. I will try to post my overall opinion of the game, and the direction we seem to be heading as a club during the week.
If you would like to help add to the £600 of donations (of a £10,000 target for MacMillan) we have already raised for charity, and have the chance to win a 10 night holiday in Cyprus, please sign up to a new bookmaker and place a bet via the sports, casino or trading sections respectively.
Next stop Tottenham and hopefully another cup win over them. I hope you all have a great week.
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