Match Review: Crystal Palace 2-1 Stoke City

I still haven’t got over it. In fact, I feel really bitter, angry and will use this forum to vent a little bit. How we managed to lose that game yesterday I still don’t know. In fact I cannot remember coming away from a game feeling as incensed as that for a long time.

Crystal Palace were there for the taking but if you defend like we keep defending then you are always going to be in trouble. The stats don’t lie – we have conceded 26 goals in just 13 games, more than any other team apart from West Ham who have also conceded 26. Oh and they have sacked their Manager you know.

The first half wasn’t a particularly impressive watch for the neutral but from a Stoke perspective, I felt we were in control. Palace didn’t offer much and if anyone was going to score it was us. That said, we didn’t really do enough to get the all important goal despite the territorial advantage.

The second half was a bit more even for me and I couldn’t see where a goal was coming from for either team. So when Shaqiri scored a wonder goal on 53 minutes sparking possibly the mental of the season to date I felt it might be enough. However within 3 minutes we managed to concede an absolutely dreadful goal which seemed to typify the season so far. Loftus-Cheek was left unmarked at the back post to help himself to the easiest of tap ins.

I think Roy had already identified our defensive frailties at half time by bringing on Benteke alongside Loftus cheek and Zaha. However despite this threat we managed to miss two great chances to regain the lead through Jesé and then Shawcross. Consequently the game appeared to be petering out towards a disappointing draw only for defensive disaster to strike again in the 3rd minute of injury time. This time Sakho was allowed to tap home from just 3 yards leaving us Stokies totally bewildered, bilious and very angry.

Contriving to lose a game in such a manner was always going to leave us feeling bitter.

Things are just not right at the moment.   This 5 at the back system doesn’t suit us. The wing backs aren’t doing what wing backs need to do.

Eric Pieters at left back? I don’t like him. His crossing his poor and defensively he does not fill me with much confidence. Diouf on the other side – again I don’t like this. Plenty of endeavour and honest work but he isn’t comfortable there. Is this to accommodate the expensive Wimmer? because I’m still not sure about him, he seems well, very expensive at 18 million. Shawcross? he does not fill me with much confidence anymore either, a bit error prone and lacks quality on the ball. Where is Bruno Martins Indi?

Choupo up front? I like him but I don’t think he is a striker. Has Hughes now given up on 13 million Berahino ? In fact – Wimmer, Imbula and Berahino have cost a combined total of  49 million, just let that sink in. Hughes is getting it wrong at the moment. We have 13 points from 13 games and that is not overly impressive. He does not appear to know his best team and yesterday we lost to bottom of the league.

Many are ready for a change. I’m not at that point as I don’t see an attractive alternative right now but things have to improve and soon. At the moment the way we are defensively, all I look at is finishing above the bottom 3. For a football club of ten years Premier League experience and the money Hughes has spent on certain players, I don’t think this is really good enough.

Anyway, we dust ourselves down and go again on Wednesday, that’s all you can do. It is not easy following Stoke City right now.

By James Lockett

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