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Crystal Palace vs Watford 21/22

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well.

On Saturday 7th of May I attended my second game of the day, the final London clash of the 21/22 season as we hosted Watford at Selhurst Park. Watford went into the game on the edge of relegation, so it was all to play for for them.

Our last game was a fantastic 2-1 win over Southampton which saw Zaha save the day with a 90+2 minute strike after being introduced off the bench, so we should have lots of confidence and be fired up for this game. Watford on the other hand had failed to pick up any points in their past 5 games, leaving them on 22 points stuck in the relegation zone. It was Roy Hodgson’s first time back at Selhurst after leaving the club last summer, not the best circumstances with the fact that his previous club would guarantee relegation on his current team if they failed to secure a win. He did receive a great reception as he walked out before the start of the game.

Patrick Vieira made 5 changes to the starting line-up which saw Zaha, Edouard, Olise, Hughes and Butland come into the team, with Ayew, Mateta, Schlupp, McArthur and Guaita all dropping out to the bench. Although Guaita wasn’t on the bench entirely so must be injured. Joel Ward managed to keep his position with Tyrick Mitchell being back to full fitness now. It was a very attacking line up put out by Vieira so I was very excited to see what they could produce, especially after our 4-1 win in the reverse fixture!

Before the game hundreds of red and blue balloons were thrown down onto the pitch as the players walked out, just like Semi-Final day; it did cause a delay as the groundsmen along with their pitchforks were called to action! The atmosphere was great at the start, but it did fall short of its normal noise levels throughout the match. It was a 3pm kick off and the game started with us instantly asserting our dominance with controlling the ball and playing it round nicely. A great ball over to Zaha from Andersen saw our first chance, Wilf passed it into Edouard, but he was unable to get a shot off meaning nothing came of it. A short corner was played into Olise, he whipped it to back post where Guehi was waiting but he could only direct goal onto to top of the net, these kind of corners seemed to work better then whipping it straight in, later in the half when we tried the other way the ball frustratingly didn’t pass the first man again. A great interception from Eze before playing the ball to Zaha outside who was given space to make a direct run towards goal, his shot went straight over the bar, disappointing that the keeper wasn’t tested from that range. Eze was involved again as he was fouled on edge of the box, his free kick went straight into the wall, I do think Olise should be on set pieces because I don’t really know what’s happening to Eze’s deliveries at the moment. The balls from all our defenders were absolutely incredible, obviously were used to seeing them from Andersen but nice to see the others getting involved too! Gallagher didn’t have the greatest game in his penultimate home game for us, he was playing some uncharacteristically poor final balls, and just kept giving the ball away cheaply. A counterattack for Watford came from our free kick; one long ball up from Ben Forster, King was held up by Clyne to prevent anything coming from it or he would’ve been basically one on one with Butland. On the 31st minute Olise’s header in the box from an Eze cross was blocked by the arm of Hassane Kamar, leaving the referee with no other option than to point to the spot and give us a penalty! There was a brief delay as VAR checked the decision, but they stuck with the ref’s initial decision and awarded the spot kick, it was a very obvious handball. Zaha stood up as he is now our designated penalty taker, the Watford player tried to put him off but completely unfazed he buried the ball in the back of the net to make it 1-0! The stands filled with torment towards the Watford fans as the Palace fans echoed “That’s why you’re going down” around the stadium, to be fair to the Watford fans they were singing “we’re going down” from the first minute. Watford didn’t give up as from a free kick their header went just past the far post via a deflection. Just before half time there was a pause in play as Guehi went down, this came after he forced a save from a headed attempt from a corner, I’m not entirely sure what happened as it was at the other end of the pitch, but thankfully he was okay to continue. We was doing well to control the ball, but we still struggled to create and take our chances, when we was able to get Zaha more involved we looked more dangerous; on one occasion he played Olise in down the wing his shot forced a fingertip save from Forster. We went into the break 1-0 up.

It seems to be the same issues in every game, we simply lack quality in the final third with our passes, also the intensity wasn’t as high as expected with such an attacking team we had out. During the break ex Palace player Geoff Thomas was welcomed to the pitch to talk about his fundraising for Leukaemia after winning the battle himself many years ago. The newly signed under 9’s also did a lap of the pitch getting applauded by the fans as they passed.

The second half was pretty boring with long period of nothing happening. We didn’t start the best with Josh King given too much time and space to run at goal, thankfully the score remained unchanged. To show how uneventful the half was the first real piece of action didn’t come till the 61st minute! Edouard had a moment of madness as he tricked his way passed and through lots of Black and yellow shirts, the shot was clipped by the keeper onto the far post, and no one was quick enough for the rebound into an open goal. I really hope Edouard gets on the scoresheet before the end of the season, being on the bench a lot and seeing Mateta take his spot can’t be good for his confidence. Before this chance we showed no urgency to hunt for the second goal. In the 63rd minute Gallagher was replaced by Schlupp; this was a very fair change as like I previously mentioned Conor wasn’t having a good game and probably needed the break. The past 2 games I’ve attended with my stepdad there’s been at least one red card awarded after a second yellow, in this game the tradition didn’t end, the red card was awarded too Kamara as he brought Olise down while on an attack. If Watford had any remaining hope I’m sure this would’ve taken it away. Edouard was involved in another attack as he broke through the Watford players in the box, but he was unable to get the final shot off. Guehi went down for the second time, this time off the ball for the same issue as earlier in the game so was very worrying times, the change was made replacing him with Tyrick Mitchell, it’s definitely wise not to risk him for the end of the season. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, Mark has made a huge difference to our team this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in contention for the player of the season award! After a few games out Mitchell regained his left back position with Joel Ward moving into the centre back spot partnering Andersen. Eze went on a solo run from the halfway line but was ended with the shot being stopped by the defender, could’ve been similar to the Akinwale goal I saw earlier in the day. Butland had a very quiet game with the outfield players doing all the work to protect him. In the 83rd Zaha was replaced by Mateta, this was an uncommon but justifiable decision as they found it hard to get Zaha in the game in the second half. “Oh Wilfried Zaha, he’s sending you down” rang round the stadium just to rub salt in the Watford wounds. Mateta was almost instantly involved as the ball was whipped in by Olise finding JP at the back post, his initial header was saved back into his path but couldn’t direct it into the back of the net. Safe to say the Watford players didn’t go easy on their ex player as Will Hughes spend a lot of the game being kicked and fouled. The final action came from us as Schlupp had a strong shot at goal, but Forster met the demands and kept it out. 1-0 final result.

Consecutive game winning goals from Zaha highlighting his importance in helping us get into the 9th place position in the league. Another clean sheet, our 4th consecutive at home which is a club record! Olise had another good game creating excitement whenever he touched the ball. It’s just frustrating how we could’ve won by so many more goals if we just took our chances and looking at our team chances should be flying in, 1-0 results are extremely risky especially as we near the end of the season and teams have places to fight for. If we were to get 5 points from our final 3 games we would equal our best points tally, so hopefully we end the game strong and create even more club records in Vieira’s first season! With our end of the season awards coming up let me know who your POTS is, I personal voted for Tyrick Mitchell 😊. This was Roy’s first ever relegation from the Premier League, he didn’t seem to upset after the game as he applauded the Palace fans 😅.

I don't know why the quality of the videos are so bad :(.

We now have 2 away games against Aston Villa and Everton, before returning home for our final game of the season against Manchester United (which is the only one I’m attending so look out for that post). I am going to the under 23’s final game tomorrow (Monday 9th of May) so look out for my post on that too!

Thank you for reading

Ellie Xx


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