Crystal Palace got back to winning ways on Saturday after securing a 2-0 victory at Premier League strugglers Burnley.
Goals from Jeffrey Schlupp and Tyrick Mitchell saw the Eagles bring all three points back to South London.
Here are Adam Sells’ takeaways from Turf Moor:
A WIN’S A WIN…
Palace came away from Turf Moor on Saturday evening with the three points, but it was far from pretty.
This was a victory that was built on hard work, defensive stability and organisation.
In truth, Palace struggled in attack, as they have without the irrepressible Eberechi Eze and the mercurial Michael Olise for pretty much most of the season.
The ever-honest Roy Hodgson acknowledged that he wanted more offensively from his team during his post-match press conference, but with so few options and little flair at his disposal he has had to make do.
Wins on the road in the Premier League are hard to come by and Palace’s experience and know-how the difference was here.
Both goals came about as a result of cashing in on defensive lapses, with Jordan Ayew and substitute Naouirou Ahamada seizing on opportunities that saw Jeffrey Schlupp and Tyrick Mitchell on the scoresheet for the first time this season.
SAM’S THE MAN
Palace were a resolute defensive unit, albeit against a toothless Burnley attack throughout, registering an impressive fifth clean sheet in eleven Premier League games.
Sam Johnstone has been a model of consistency in goal.
The England keeper handled impeccably on a wet, dreary afternoon in Lancashire and pulled off a number of excellent saves as the home side attempted to rescue the game.
The goalkeeper’s distribution was also superb – calm and accurate throughout.
Johnstone has been an ever-reliable figure between the posts. With the addition of Dean Henderson, Palace have real strength in depth in the goalkeeping department, which needs to be replicated in other areas of the group.
HODGSON WORKING HIS MAGIC AGAIN
The Palace boss is doing his thing again. The security and experience he offers is invaluable to his club.
Hodgson still seems to have some detractors, both within the fanbase and media, which seems hard to fathom given what he is doing again – with very little in terms of attacking options at his disposal.
The Eagles’ points return thus far has been excellent, particularly when one considers the teams Hodgson has been able to field, which is hard to argue with.
No Olise, no Eze, no Matheus Franca. All this, of course, without Wilfried Zaha, who left for Galatasaray in the summer. That would amount to his four best attacking talents. There used to be a time when Palace couldn’t win top-flight games without Zaha, now they can do it without those four.
Give Roy the players to attack and he has clearly demonstrated that his teams play very attractive football, with the quick one-touch football around the box a predominant feature.
If Roy doesn’t have the players he needs, he still finds a way to glean points and keep his team above the line – even if it is not pretty. The epitome of good management.
THE SEASON STARTS HERE
With the return of the aforementioned Eze, Olise and new signing Matheus Franca, Palace will be able to utilise three ball carriers that can go past players and create opportunities in the coming weeks.
Both Eze and Olise have been sorely missed and it is reasonable to suggest that the majority of the four defeats suffered thus far may have been avoided with these two wonderful talents available.
Franca has not been seen too much and it is hoped that he can show in time why sporting director Dougie Freedman was so keen to part with £20m plus for the 19-year-old.
These three players will help Palace push on, but the squad really needs three more attacking options and further depth in full-back areas if it is to seriously push for Europe.
Let’s hope that there is a desire in January to make the additions required and that these super talents can stay fit, particularly with the news the Jesurun Rak-Sakyi will now be ruled out for a long period.
The next run of fixtures represents a chance to add points to the total – let’s hope Roy’s returning ‘super talents’ hit the ground running.
Subscribe to Blog via Email
Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:
“A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or, please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ