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Crystal Palace vs Sheffield United

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone

Hope you're well.

On Saturday 1st February I attended the Crystal Palace Vs Sheffield United game at Selhurst Park. I went with my Mum, Nan and Auntie. This was the first game after the January transfer window had closed. I feel we really did not do enough investment compared to what we needed to do, only buying one player, on loan! All of the Palace fans including me are definitely fed up of our board and how they're not putting enough effort into improving the team, even Roy is starting to get annoyed; I don't think he will be at the club for much longer if this continues.

The game started at 3pm and Palace were able to start with their regular players after Patrick Van Aanholt, Joel Ward and Benteke had returned from injuries and Milivojevic returned to the team after his 3 match band and finally Andros Townsend was able to return to the bench. Milivojevic was even back his captain band for this match after having it stripped during suspension.

In the early stages of the game Palace showed that they were going to dominate the game as they were able to play the ball around nicely. It only took 6 minutes for the first foul to be made on Zaha but the referee saw nothing wrong with it and waved play on. After this incident Zaha didn't look 100% when running for the ball but thankfully he was able to run the pain off.

There was some beautiful play down the left in many parts of the game between Zaha and others. Another incident happened with Zaha in the 14th minute but this time the referee made the correct decision and awarded us a free kick. This lead to the first corner of the game. Zaha was once again fouled in the 18th minute this time it was one too many and the referee gave the first yellow card of the match. Throughout the whole match the Palace fans sang in the numbers creating a lively and positive atmosphere.

Our first yellow card was given to us in the 23rd minute to James Tomkins but it was a slightly harsh decision. In the first half Palace were shooting towards the Sainsbury's end so most of the action was in front of us which it hasn't been for a while. McArthur had an opportunity in the 29th minute but he was only able to curl his effort into the hands of Sheffield United keepers hands. There was a brief VAR check after Tomkins went to ground after being elbowed in the face but the check was our in seconds and there was nothing seen wrong.

In the 34th minute Zaha did brilliantly well to keep the ball in play while going down the left wing when Sheffield United player Baldock came into the back of him hitting his shin with his foot sending Zaha to the ground. This player was already on a yellow card but the Ref saw it wasn't worthy enough to get a second yellow. The referee got a lot of abuse from the Palace fans after his decision as it was clearly a second yellow. Zaha and Milivojevic were both really annoyed at the ref but this didn't make his change his decision.

In the late stages of the half Palace were very close to the first goal of the game after Zaha was able to get down the left side once again before getting the ball into the box, the keeper was unable to get there but so was Ayew after he came towards the back post but it was just too late. In the 43rd minute there was some amazing play once again down the left between Van Aanholt and Zaha after getting through two players before laying it off to McArthur who was able to play it into Van Aanholt who's shot went over the cross bar. The final action of the half saw another chance for Palace, Zaha was able to whip the all into the box where Benteke was waiting. He managed to loose his defender but sadly wasn't able to get to the ball in time. It was then half time.

After ending the first half so strongly we were expecting Palace to get the opening goal. Sheffield United had an early shot in the 48th minute but it only ended in Guaita's hands, he was then able to start Palace on the the counter attack. There was a collision of heads in the 49th minute between Benteke and Bisham but thankfully they were both ok to carry on.

Sheffield United had a corner in the 58th minute. It was an in springing ball heading towards the goal, it looked as though Guaita had it covered but much to Palaces misery he fell back over the line and so Sheffield got the goal. In the 61st minute Guaita was back to his normal ways by stopping Sheffield United scoring another goal. This gave Sheffield United a lot of confidence and the final 30 minutes of the match making the game pretty even. Another Sheffield player then got themselves booked after fouling Zaha, this was met by a huge array of "boos" around Selhurst Park after the ref didn't send the previous man off after fouling Zaha.

There was a key opportunity in the 70th minute for Palace after there was a great cross into the box from McCarthy into Tomkins but he was unable to get his header towards the goal. In the 72nd minute, Joel Ward went in to get the ball from a Sheffield United player, the ref deemed it as a dangerous tackle and ran over to Ward showing him the red card. This angered all of the Palace fans because we saw nothing wrong with the tackle, before Ward exited the pitch we had to wait for the VAR confirmation. The ref in VAR advised the on field ref to have a look for himself on the screen. There was loads of security around the screen because the fans were angry with the initial decision. After a few minutes of waiting, the ref ran back over to Ward revealing the red card and indicated that no red card should be dealt for the challenge, his card was changed to a yellow meaning he was able to remain in the pitch. The fans sang the words "your not fit to referee" because his initial decision was turned over. This may suggest that if VAR was able to intrude with second yellow card decisions that Sheffield may have been down the ten men earlier in the game.

The first substitution for Palace came in the 77th minute as Townsend came on in replacement of Benteke, he got a warm reception from missing a lot of games due to injury. Shortly after in the 80th minute we made our second substitution. Max Meyer replaced James McCarthy. Sheffield United had another attempt at a second goal in the 83rd minute which forced Guaita to save the ball out for a corner. This lead to some good defending from Chill after he was able to clear the ball. In the 86th minute Palace made their final substitution bringing on Kouyate for James McArhtur.

There were 6 minutes added on at the end of the game, Palace had to give it there all if they wanted to come away with something. We won a corner but sadly nothing came of it. The game ended 1-0 to Sheffield United. As the final whistle was blown here were "boos" from the Palace fans but I'm pretty sure this was aimed at the officials rather than the team.

Palaces first half performance and parts of the second half showed that we did not deserve this result. Guaita has been having such a good season but sadly his mistake today cost us the three points but hopefully this doesn't effect his confidence for the up and coming games.

After the match we went to the Palace shop so i could spend my Christmas money. I ended up getting a hoody and programme holder. We then went to our usual spot to wait for the players. We saw Milovejevic and Patrick Van Aanholt. After talking to Patrick for a moment he decided to give me his match worn shirt and then sign int for me! I was very very very happy as he is my favourite player and it was his first game back after being injured. It is a really special shirt as it was his 100th Palace appearance shirt......... I was therefore so extra grateful to receive this shirt. It has pride position amongst my display shirts and even smells really nice! Later I put the picture on my Instagram (Ellie_killick) of me, Patrick and the shirt and he replied to my post which was the icing on the cake. When Patrick gave me his shirt he was being filmed by a professional videographer so look out for me on Instagram!

Match stats:

• Palace had a total of 60.7% possession, Sheffield United had 39.3%

• Palace had a total of 13 shots with 3 on target.

• Sheffield United had 10 shots with 3 on target.

Thank you for reading

Ellie X

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