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All of the Time: Let's Push Things For-Ward
Well that wasn’t too bad. And I’m not talking about the three week hiatus this column has enjoyed.
Our opening day 1-0 defeat to Tottenham unveiled a few positives that you don’t have to be a glass-half-full sort of supporter to appreciate.
And it isn’t often you can say that about a defeat, and a defeat in which we spent the first 45 minutes pegged back in our own half defending doggedly.
Joel Ward and Mile Jedinak confirmed what everybody at the club already knows and put in Premier League performances, while KG’s contribution surprised me.
The South African helped out in various areas of the pitch when needed, including a very good effort on goal from a tight angle at the end – and didn’t look as rusty and unfit as I’d feared.
Holloway’s triple substitution showed we do have several talented players at our disposal. Jonny Williams bought the team breathing space with his tricky dribbling, plus Kevin Phillips’ experience and intelligent movement very nearly led to a goal. We were a lot more lively and dangerous going forward for the last 25 minutes.
That’s not to mention Marouane Chamakh, who is much bigger in real life than I’d realised.
Dwight Gayle looked a lot more dynamic when attacking centrally towards the end of the game, and a partnership with Chamakh is a very promising proposition - the classic little and large combination.
However, there were elements of the game for the glass-half-empty brigade too. Firstly, Aaron Wilbraham. It’s all well and good being diplomatic or nice, but the guy was barely Championship standard.
Seeing his name at the top of our teamsheet for the opening game of the season in the top flight was petrifying and indicative of the problem a few injuries or illnesses instantly causes our paper-thin squad.
Stating the obvious, the squad in general is a real worry. Having Jerome Thomas, Eliot Grandin and Yannick Bolasie unavailable meant we were playing with an incredibly narrow and unnatural shape at times, with few outlets for the ball once we’d gained possession.
To end on another negative, I think Holloway’s anger at the officials over the perceived foul on Dobbie and the legitimacy of the penalty is completely misplaced and misjudged, and casts an undignified shadow over the game.
Nevertheless, this valiant effort against Spurs helped to reassure fans - and remind both pundits and opposition - that despite our flaws, Crystal Palace will be far from a pushover this season.
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