Well, well, that was a turn up for the books wasn’t it?
I’d predicted a 1-0 win and I did have a bit of a feeling, but I don’t think I can honestly say I expected it.
So how pleasant was it, that we actually came away with all the points?
From a ground where we have a really poor record too.
I find myself wondering if we were good or Palace were poor and while I know many of you don’t like it if I say I thought the opposition were poor, I have to say I partly think they were.
But let me hasten to add that while I didn’t think much of them, a lot of that was because we made them look poor.
We’ve discussed, or at least given passing mention, to the new manager bounce and I think there was definitely some of that.
Yet I also felt there’s more to it than just that. The players looked to me like they’re playing with a purpose. Either Gerrard and his crew have immediately worked wonders or Dean Smith and his team had just massively run out of ideas and more probably, quite simply, motivation.
Which again suggests it was the right time for the club and the manager to part company.
We’ll know better after more time, but I’m guessing that’s how things are.
There was a lot to commend today and some very good performances.
My man of the match?
Tyrone Mings, who I thought was immense.
Erm yep. Make the most of that, because if he performs poorly, I’ll be quick to give him pelters again. Seriously, he was good though.
There were also other noticeably good performances.
Martinez goes pretty much without saying. Yes, he had a couple of dodgy games, but he was back to his usual self and just inspires confidence.
Matski Cashki was superb and worked his guts out against Zaha, who is one dirty, snakey footballer.
Targett also played well and of course, got the first goal.
Konsa was his usual not noticeable self and apart from one bit of a mix up with Cash, where we could have got an own goal, he just got on with his job. I’d love to see him get a cap, but he just doesn’t get noticed does he?
The consummate Rolls Royce defender.
Nakamba and here’s one for the haters, who it seems are legion. I thought he was immense in his blocking and passing today. He did make one sloppy pass and the haters pounced upon it, but it all seems so unfair to me. Hardly put a foot wrong and some fans need to open their eyes to what he brings, imo.
McGinn had another cracker. He worked his guts out and of course culminated things with a lovely placed effort for our second goal. It’s great to see he’s back on fire.
Bailey was one of the weaker performances today. Some stuff came off, but he also came across as lightweight at times. Hopefully he’ll get better and better.
Young was a surprise starter for me, but he played really well. The ultimate pro, who has surprised me in his effectiveness and of course, he hit the bar from a free.
Ramsey played well too and while I’m not convinced about the number of daft fouls he commits, he is now beginning to justify his starting position. He’s added an edge to his game and it’s a bit nasty. I like it and all he needs to do is find the balance.
And then the fly in the ointment.
Quite possibly my favourite player, Ollie Watkins. I thought he was mostly awful today and he doesn’t look like he could finish his breakfast. His touch is abysmal and the only good thing I can say about him is that he retains the effort. He had three shouts for a penalty today, but I wasn’t convinced by any of them. He looks like he’s lacking sharpness and I’d say he needs to be rested for a few games, because he looks mentally tired to me.
What does that say about Ings though, if he gets dropped before Ollie?
I’d say Watkins is more effective in trying to get involved at least.
Luiz’s Red card?
I thought it was at first sight, but watching the replay, no, it wasn’t. VAR worked well this time.
It was put to me that the ref was very unfair towards us, but I’m not so sure. I will concede that some tackles were let off without punishment. But then I just think Palace are much more professional in how they commit their fouls. That might sound daft, but I’m sure some clubs actually coach how to commit fouls that are on the edge, so to speak.
Certainly a few of our players were clattered on multiple occasions. McGinn, Young and Watkins were all roughly tackled off the top of my head, yet when we commit one, it’s more likely to be an absolute shocker, which is always going to get punished.
Not that we’re a dirty side.
But Palace definitely are and I never realised it before. I suspect that’s down to the Viera type of coaching they’re getting.
Can we expect a bit of that from Stevie G too? I’d expect so and while I’d never have liked the idea previously, I’m now coming round to the thought that you have to do everything to gain an edge.
The days of the honourables winning anything are well and truly gone, sadly.
So it’s six out of six and I think we’ll need them as we face a tough few games coming up.
Then again, who’d bet against us getting something out of our next three games, where it looked impossible just over a week ago?
I just love the fact that for now at least, the gloom, doom and despondency has gone.
Jingle bells, jingle bells…….