8 Games In
Since taking over at Crystal Palace, we’ve played 8 games in 5 and a half weeks. I came to the club to prove a point that I’m not a defensive manager and set up accordingly but I quickly realised that I have to adapt my tactics to the players we have at the club and frankly I found that the best way to win points is to contain the opposition and hit them on the counter to snatch a win or a draw.
Crystal Palace FC 1 – 0 Fulham FC
Crystal Palace – Speroni, Hunt, Mariappa, Delaney, Parr, Jedinak, Puncheon, Campaña, Guédioura, Thomas, Chamakh. Subs: Price, McCarthy, Grandin, Gayle, Ward, Garvan, Bolasie
Fulham – Stekelenburg, Zverotic, Hangeland, Senderos, Riise, Duff, Parker, Boateng, Taraabt, Berbatov, Rodallega. Subs: Stockdale, Hughes, Briggs, Ruiz, Dejagah, Kacaniklic, Passley
Crystal Palace - Hunt, Guédioura
Fulham - Senderos
Crystal Palace – Mariappa (9)
The first game in charge was against Fulham FC. We started brightly and took a 1-0 lead on 9 minutes, with centre back Adrian Mariappa nodding home from a corner. Fulham bossed possession and had so many more shots on goal but Speroni and Jedinak were in fine form. Our task was made easier with Philippe Senderos getting sent off with 15 minutes to go. A great win to get off the foot of the table against fellow strugglers.
Crystal Palace FC 1 – 1 West Ham United FC
Crystal Palace – Speroni, Hunt, Mariappa, Delaney, Ward, Jedinak, Puncheon, Campaña, Bannan, Chamakh, Gayle. Subs: Price, McCarthy, Williams, Guédioura, Parr, Thomas, Bolasie
West Ham – Jääskeläinen, O’Brien, Collins, Spence, Rat, Noble, Diame, Nolan, Cole, Jarvis, Petric Subs: Adrian, Chambers, Potts, Collison, Maïga, Driver, Homans
Crystal Palace - Mariappa, Jedinak
West Ham - O’Brien, Nolan
Crystal Palace – Mariappa (25)
West Ham – Collins (76)
This was a tough game and one that was there for the taking. Unfortunately we couldn’t capitalise on our possession and leaked a late goal from a corner. Mariappa scored in his second consecutive game and has been putting in strong performances at the back as well. We are so far unbeaten under my reign and hopefully have more wins coming up before the busy Christmas period. The frustrating thing is that Hull and West Brom are also picking up points and we can’t escape the relegation zone yet.
Cardiff City FC 2 – 1 Crystal Palace FC
Cardiff City – Marshall, Théophile-Catherine, Caulker, Turner, McNaughton, Cowie, Gunnarsson, Medel, Noone, Campbell, Cornelius. Subs: Lewis, Mason, Mutch, Brayford, Bellamy, Bo-Kyung, Connolly
Crystal Palace – Speroni, Hunt, Mariappa, Delaney, Parr, Jedinak, Puncheon, Campaña, Thomas, Chamakh, Gayle. Subs: Price, Jerome, Guédioura, Williams, Ward, Bannan, Bolasie
Cardiff City - McNaughton
Crystal Palace - Jedinak, Bolasie, Parr
Cardiff City – Campbell (7), Cornelius (27)
Crystal Palace – Thomas (72)
We were outplayed and outfought. Cardiff aren’t too far ahead of us at this point and a win would have lifted us right out the relegation places. Unfortunately we couldn’t come together and suffered another loss. We seem to lack that finisher up top who can make a real goal scoring difference and the strikers are suffering from a lack of confidence. I believe in them though to turn things around.
Crystal Palace FC 2 – 0 Stoke City FC
Crystal Palace – Speroni, Hunt, Mariappa, Kyrgiakos, Parr, Jedinak, Benayoun, Guédioura, Thomas, Chamakh, Gayle. Subs: Price, Bannan, Campaña, Delaney, Puncheon, Bolasie, Williams
Stoke City – Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Muniesa, N’Zonzi, Whelan, Adam, Pennant, Etherington, Crouch Subs: Sørensen, Edu, Shea, Ireland, Walters, Jones, Pieters
Crystal Palace - Guédioura
Stoke City - Wilkinson
Crystal Palace – Benayoun (52), Puncheon (79)
An absolutely massive win. Stoke are currently a top 10 team and have been performing well defensively yet we managed to bag two goals against them. The win managed to lift us off bottom spot but Hull bagged a crazy 4-3 win against Swansea to keep them off the bottom too and keep pressure on us. Benayoun was magnificent and did what we got him to do.
Arsenal FC 0 – 0 Crystal Palace FC
Arsenal – Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Flamini, Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud Subs: Viviano, Chu-Young, Bendtner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gibbs, Podolski, Walcott
Crystal Palace – Speroni, Hunt, Mariappa, Delaney, Parr, Jedinak, Benayoun, Guédioura, Thomas, Chamakh, Gayle. Subs: Price, Ward, Kyrgiakos, Puncheon, Bolasie, Moxey, Inniss
Crystal Palace - Mariappa, Jedinak
A massive draw against a team chasing the top spot. With a front three of Ozil, Cazorla and Giroud we knew we would be up against it as Arsenal dominated possession but were very wasteful. We had a chance to nick it late on but just couldn’t squeeze the ball in to the net. This time Hull lost but West Brom won and it was the same 3 teams occupying the relegation spots.
Sunderland AFC 0 – 0 Crystal Palace FC
Sunderland – Westwood, Celustka, O’Shea, Roberge, Colback, Cabral, Giaccherini, Larsson, Borini, Johnson, Fletcher Subs: Talbot, Dong-Won, Honeyman, Brown, Altidore, Mavrias, Cuéllar
Crystal Palace – Speroni, Hunt, Mariappa, Kyrgiakos, Parr, Jedinak, Puncheon, Guédioura, Williams, Chamakh Subs: Price, Moxey, Bannan, Bolasie, Ward, Benayoun, Gayle
Sunderland - Celustka
Crystal Palace - Mariappa
I was disappointed with us in this game. Mariappa got himself sent off so early on and left us to play 70 minutes with 10 men. The nice surpise was the fact the lads played harder and created more than Sunderland. Chamakh was poor and could have had a hat trick. Borini had an 88th minute penalty saved by Speroni and he was our last ditch hero today.
Crystal Palace FC 1 – 0 Aston Villa FC
Crystal Palace – Speroni, Hunt, Delaney, Kyrgiakos, Parr, Jedinak, Williams, Guédioura, Puncheon, Bolasie, Jerome. Subs: Price, Moxey, Bannan, Thomas, Ward, Benayoun, Chamakh
Aston Villa – Given, Hutton, Vlaar, Okore, Baker, Sylla, Bacuna, Delph, Weimann, Tonev, Benteke Subs: Guzan, Westwood, Herd, Helenius, Agbonlahor, Lowton, Clark
Crystal Palace - Guédioura, Jedinak
Aston Villa - Herd, Westwood
Crystal Palace – Benayoun (86)
Another late win snatched us all 3 points. The team are gelling and playing some nice football at times. Benayoun managed to score a cheeky flick from a corner late in the game when we finally pressured Aston Villa a lot more. A good recovery since losing to Cardiff with 2 draws and 2 wins. 12 points out of 21 possible means we are making big movements to securing our future in the league.
Crystal Palace FC 1 – 4 Everton FC
Crystal Palace – Speroni, Hunt, Delaney, Kyrgiakos, Parr, Bannan, Guédioura, Puncheon, Thomas, Benayoun, Chamakh Subs: Price, Moxey, Gayle, Bolasie, Ward, Williams, Jerome
Everton – Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines, Barry, Gibson, Mirallas, Barkley, Gueye, Jelavic Subs: Taudul, Long, Oviedo, Hibbert, Lukaku, McCarthy, Distin
Crystal Palace – Gayle (78)
Everton - Mirallas (41, 65), Lukaku (72), Barkley (82)
Everton are currently chasing Champions League football and the difference in class on the pitch showed. Keeping them out for 41 minutes wasn’t too hard but once they got the first goal they ran the show. There were no real positives apart from Gayle’s first goal of the season. We finished the intense Christmas period still stuck in the relegation places, albeit we weren’t bottom anymore.