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Crystal Palace vs Norwich 21/22

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well, and had a great Christmas!

After a 1 day break Palace were back in action in the Premier League in a fixture at home against Norwich, on Tuesday 28th of December. Our previous game was away to Tottenham, which sadly ended in a 3-0 defeat. Some positives from the game were Tyrick Mitchell was outstanding he deserves so much more credit than he gets, and that Nathan Ferguson was finally fit to come on to make his debut for the Eagles, the young defender was signed in the summer of 2020 from West Brom but has struggled with injuries, so it was nice to see him finally get minutes. Norwich were finding their Premier League campaign extremely difficult and were going into this game sitting rock bottom of the table with 10 points, their previous game was a 5-0 lose against Arsenal.

Patrick Viera was not on the side-lines for this game after testing positive before the Tottenham game, leaving assistant manager Osian Roberts in charge of the team for the next few fixtures, whilst also in contact with Patrick to make decisions. Roberts was forced into 2 changes with Zaha being suspended after a reckless decision in the Spurs game, and Gallagher being out for unknown reasons - there are rumours of COVID, but my mum did hear on the Prime commentary he was being rested so hopefully that was the case; they were replaced by Mateta and Schlupp. The manager also bought Guehi and Guaita back into the line-up in replace of Tomkins and Butland. We were running thin on players so only 8 players were named on the bench including 2 goalkeepers.

The game was a 3pm kick-off and it was relatively busy for a midweek game. Mateta took the first kick, and we were off. We didn’t have the greatest start as we struggled to win possession back from the opponents as they started brightly, but there was no real need to panic. There were a lot of fouls from Norwich so it was hard for us to find a rhythm in the opening stages, but we did start to take more control of the possession. Most of the attack went down the right with Ayew, one of his crosses in was just over hit but found Schlupp round the back, he has 2 attempts at goal but were both blocked, the ball then fell out to Mitchell who was urged to shoot but picked the wiser option to pass it back into Hughes, he attempted to spin but was completely taken out but the Norwich defender, whistle was blown and the ref pointed to the spot, easy decision. With no Zaha, and no Milivojevic on the pitch there was uncertainty of who would take the spot kick, Edouard stepped up with the strikers attitude you want to see, and of course he buried it into the bottom left of the goal! 8 minutes in and we were already 1-0 up, we just needed to hold on this time and not have another repeat of Southampton! Norwich’s quality on the ball showed why they were bottom of the table, and if they don’t improve on the basics it’s going to be a very long rest of the season for them. Worrying times for Edouard as he was fouled in the middle of the park and needed to have some treatment, but thankfully he was able to get up and carry on. Andersen was great once again providing the needed attacking element, whipping inch perfect diagonal balls out to Mitchell, the whole team is exciting to watch nowadays. Will Hughes has been fantastic in the past few games and didn’t disappoint in this game, he is always there when needed and is brilliant at winning the ball back in the middle of the park to start counter attacks! He won the ball off the Norwich player in the midfield and sent the ball through to Mateta, his shot was straight into the side netting. Norwich gave the ball away way too much, this time Gilmour lost out too Schlupp, he ran towards goal but his shot was blocked by their centre back, he had the option to pass it back to multiple players in red and blue but decided to take it on himself. After Norwich tried to clear their area Hughes sent the ball back in but it went very high, the defenders were caught in two minds leaving space for Edouard to try win it back, but his efforts were seen as a foul as the defender fell to the floor, and the goal scorer was also given a yellow card, slightly harsh in my opinion because he only had eyes for the ball and had the right to go for the ball. On the half hour mark there was a lengthy pause in play as there were some technical difficulties between the referee and VAR, this gave the players a chance to speak with their managers and have a drink, but probably wasn’t the best for their bodies especially in the cold conditions, the ref finally re-entered the pitch to a round of ironic cheers from both sets of fans. In the 38th minute Norwich had a decent chance to get a goal back as the ball was whipped into the box, but the attacker completely missed the ball ... in the classic Palace counter attack fashion we were determined to go straight up the other end, Ward picked up the ball in their box and played it into Ayew, he turned and played it back to Kouyate, who played it out wide to Mitchell, he played a wonderful ball down the wing finding Edouard just outside the box, finally he played it back into the box into an advancing Mateta who buried the ball into the far side of the net! 2-0 to us and Mateta was finally on the scoresheet after a long wait since the Brighton game last season, the corner flag was once again his victim :). In the 42nd minute Norwich were once again unsuccessful in clearing the ball from danger, Hughes was there to collect the ball which he then passed into Edouard who was waiting in the box, he tried to dribble his way through but the ball was flicked out to an awaiting Schlupp, he managed to get the ball out of his feet quick enough and produced a wonderful finish sending the ball into the far side of the net, 3-0 before half time! After every goal the atmosphere was brilliant as always showing our support for the boys. Surprisingly there was only 5 minutes added on for the first half, Norwich had another opportunity to get a goal as a corner was whipped in, it looked as though Guaita was going to come and punch it out of danger but he missed and thankfully the ball was kept out by the crossbar. So, we went in 3-0 up and in high sprints.

The game was basically over in the first 45 minutes of playing and we had full control of the game, but some more goals in the second half would be a great way to end the day.

The second half began with another spurt of dominance from Norwich but this was short lived. Early in the second half Schlupp was able to whip the ball into the box, it was cleared over by a Norwich defender and just in time because Mateta was approaching just behind him. I was slightly surprised that in the second half even though we were 3-0 up, the crowd was still pretty quiet (not including the Holmesdale fanatics). Palace completely dominated the second half which was no real surprise but it was not as eventful as the first half was. The Norwich fans were extremely toxic in the second half towards their own players, including pretending they scored a goal so they could celebrate on multiple occasions, but it was pretty entertaining as the energy in the game was pretty low. They were also chanting things like “Norwich get battered everywhere they go”, that’s normally sang by the opposing fans so they obviously haven’t got the greatest fan base 😬. Schlupp had a chance to get himself a second as the ball fell to him on the edge of the box from a free kick, his low driven shot was on target but saved by the legs of the Norwich keeper, Mateta tried to get the rebound but it was again saved. Edouard and Mateta worked well together throughout the game linking up on multiple occasions which was great to see. Guaita was called into action after being a spectator for most of the half, but he pulled off a brilliant save the flag was up anyway but still deserved credit. Our first substitution came in the 72nd minute with Hughes being replaced by Milivojevic who took the armband back, they both got a great reception on and off of the pitch. There was a pitch invader in the closing stages from the Norwich fans so this got the crowd going again, I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve seen this happen live, the man got a pat on the back by Wardy while being dragged out by the security guards lol. Our second substitution came in the 79th minute as Benteke came on in replace of Mateta, he got a standing ovation off the pitch on his second start of the season! Andersen went down injured there was no contact from another player which is concerning, he’s just come back from an injury, Roberts decided to make the third and final change bring Tomkins on to replace Andersen, hopefully it’s just precautionary to ensure he’s fit for our next game. In the closing stages of the game Ayew completely embarrassed his defender as the ball was sent over the top of them and Jordan judged the ball perfectly before spinning away from the defender and having a clear run towards the ball, the defender did manage to catch up but the only way to stop him was to foul him. We had 3 consecutive corners, the third fell to Schlupp outside the box, he whipped it back into the danger zone where it met Benteke at the back post, he managed to put it into the back of the net with a nice finish, but sadly he was offside, there was a quick VAR check but the linesman’s decision stood. This was the final real piece of action for our final game of 2021 and it ended 3-0!

I know that Norwich aren’t the greatest team but we have to play the team that are in front of us, which we did very successfully, showing great intensity, and ultimately came away with a comfortable 3-0 win and all the 3 points, so a great day and end of the year for us! Was great to see the 3 goal scorers step up especially when we’re missing Conor and Wilf, so hopefully it continues even when they are back in contention. Also a great result for Osian Roberts and something to remember his time on the touch line by. Hopefully next game more players and Vieira will return from COVID so we have more options, even though this team did play extremely well in this game. My MOTM would definitely be Edouard he was fantastic throughout the whole game, he did not stop running and managed to pick himself up a goal and 2 assists (picking me up 14 points on FPL (:)! We did temporarily go up to 9th in the league but this was short lived as Leicester beat Liverpool moving us down to 10th, but were still top half of the table with 23 points so can’t really complain.

Match stats:

• Palace had a total of 50.9% possession, Norwich had 49.1%

• Palace had a total of 19 shots with 6 on target.

• Norwich had 12 shots with 3 on target.

I have also added some clips onto my 'videos' tab.

Our next game is back at Selhurst Park against West Ham on New Year’s Day in 3 days, so look out for that post.

Thank you for reading, hope you have a great New Years!

Ellie Xx

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