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Crystal Palace vs Leeds 21/22

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well.

We were finally back at Selhurst Park a home game after what felt like weeks! On Monday 25th of April we hosted Leeds United. In the reverse fixture Leeds got the 3 points after a 1-0 win from a late penalty kick.

Leeds were coming into this game on a high after picking up points in their last 4 games in the Premier League, on top of this Kalvin Phillips was fit to start his first game in a while after being out for a lengthy period of time with an injury. In contrast Palace were coming into the game off the back of a 1-0 midweek defeat against Newcastle; this wasn’t the way we would’ve wanted to end the season and with only 5 games remaining this game was a good chance to put things right.

Vieira was forced into a change replacing the injured Tyrick Mitchell (who hadn’t missed a premier league game this season) with Joel Ward. The other changes saw Edouard, Olise, Schlupp and Kouyate drop to the bench to be replaced by Mateta, Ayew, Eze and McArthur. A complete formation change back to the 4-3-3 saw a lot of attacking players on the pitch, so it should’ve been an exciting game!

The game started at a very high tempo; the Palace boys looked much more up for this game than the past few matches. There was some early chances the first from Mateta who had the chance to lob the keeper after a great ball was played in behind the defence, but the defender was able to back track keeping it out with Zaha too far back to contest as the ball was cleared. The next chance went down the left as Ward linked up with Zaha allowing him to trick his way towards the box, before returning the ball to Ward who was able to whip in the final cross, straight into the hands of the keeper. There were some stand out performances in the opening stages with McArthur giving it 100% in the midfield; there was also some great play down the right between Clyne and Ayew on multiple occasions which was exciting to see! Gallagher picked Ayew out with a great pass in behind the defenders taking him through on goal, he went just wide so had to whip the ball into Mateta who’s diving header went just past the post as he clattered into the floor. The ball was given away cheaply by Leeds in their defensive half straight to Wilf, he played Mateta through behind once again, but the ball was just too heavy and went through to the keeper, early signs of the lack of quality in our balls. The first corner didn’t come for a while and it went too Leeds, it ended with a header on target but was a simple save for Guaita. Eze was back on free kick duties, the first few weren’t top quality with one being recycled after not finding it’s in the intended person, there was a bit of pin ball in the box until it was finally cleared. Zaha was fouled countless times, but the referee didn’t book anyone for any of them, but went on to book Andersen for his first offence later in the game (yet another ref against us)! There was large controversy as the ref blew very late for a foul on a Leeds player (allowing us to start a counterattack in the meanwhile), this didn’t sit right with the whole of Selhurst who did not keep their thoughts unknown filling the stands with boos. In the latter stages of the half, he made some very dodgy decisions as Leeds became very dirty living up to their classic playing style! The half ended with a loud roar of boos which was definitely aimed at the referee rather than the players.

The game felt like one of the matches that the first team that scored would win the game; with neither team having any clear cut opportunities so far.

Within the first minute of the second half there was a chance for Leeds as Raphania tried to work the space to get a shot off, Ward did well to close him down leading to a corner. The dirtiness of Leeds continued into the second half as did the referees lack of competence, as Ward was completely taken out by Daniel James on the far side. Our first corner of the game came in the middle of the second half, Eze didn’t manage to pass the first man. Eze didn’t have the greatest game losing the ball cheaply multiple times, hopefully this is just him still getting over his injury and he will be back to his ‘normal’ self soon. In fairness to Leeds, they did create some great noise in the away end, shame they didn’t have too much to shout about on the pitch though. Wilf got passed his man leaving the wing free to run into, he got the pass into Mateta who’s shot went straight over the bar into row Z 😭. The first substitution for us saw Olise on for Ayew 66 minutes. He had an instant impact whipping a ball into the box, didn’t find anyone but Wilf was found at the back post where he could have a shot forcing a save from the keeper. We played round the back a lot in the second half, which made the nerves around the stadium very high, but the players proved us wrong remaining calm and composed. We had chance after chance after chance, but we simply lacked quality in the final third, it was really frustrating to watch because we could’ve been 6-0 up. Olise was on corners but frustratingly the deliveries still weren’t great. A short corner made its way out to Ward on the edge of the box, a long range shot was very close, the players appealed for a corner, but nothing was given. Yet another foul on Zaha led to another free kick which was taken by Eze, it was whipped in but cleared by a Leeds player straight into the path of Gallagher, his volley from the edge of the box went just over the bar but it was very close! Another substitution came in the 77th minute which saw Schlupp replace Eze, I think this was a fair substitution because like I mentioned earlier Eze wasn’t having a great game. We gave the ball away way too much and caused our own problems so many times, as for the majority of the game Leeds didn’t look threatening. The atmosphere was pretty overrun by the Leeds fans as the fanatics struggled to get Selhurst to its normal standards in portions of the game. The final substitution came in the 82nd minute which saw Benteke replace Mateta. The final chance came from a lovely cushioned touch by Olise allowing him to set Conor up on the edge of the box, his shot went straight into the keepers’ hands. He definitely had his chances to get on the scoresheet!

And that was the story of the game, so many chances but none could be taken. Based on our chances we deserved the 3 points, but a draw was probably a fair result in the end as neither team was clinical enough. Yet another clean sheet so very happy about that, our tenth of the season. We need to end the season strong as we could easily get tangled up in the dramas at the bottom of the table with only 5 games left (although I don’t see it happening) it’s all so tight this year!

Match stats:

• Palace had a total of 52.5% possession, Leeds had 47.5%

• Palace had a total of 17 shots with 7 on target.

• Leeds had 9 shots with 2 on target.

Our next game is Southampton away on Saturday 30th of April which I am attending, so look out for my post on that!

Thank you for reading

Ellie Xx

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