Five takeaways from Crystal Palace’s 0-1 loss to Leeds United – Mitchell shines in front of Southgate

A late Raphinha penalty after the ball struck Marc Guehi’s hand inside the area sealed all three points for Leeds and condemned Crystal Palace to their first back-to-back defeats under Patrick Vieira.

The Frenchman made three changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Aston Villa, which ended the Eagles’ seven-game unbeaten run, with Jeffrey Schlupp, Jordan Ayew and Odsonne Edouard replacing Luka Milivojevic, Michael Olise and Christian Benteke.

Here are Edmund Brack’s five takeaways from the match:

EAGLES COULD HAVE WON IT BUT LEFT WITH NOTHING

Despite showing why he is a crucial part of Patrick Vieira’s plans this season, Christian Benteke had the opportunity to send the Eagles back to Selhurst Park with all three points. But instead they were left to rue his missed chances.

While his second chance had a slice of misfortune to it – Illan Meslier clawing the ball off the line after Benteke darted ahead of Liam Cooper – the Belgian should have taken his first opportunity of the night.

After coming on for Odsonne Edouard, who had a quiet evening, Benteke moved into the centre with Zaha assuming his usual role at left wing.

The Ivorian delicately crossed the ball back to Benteke at the far post but, from the edge of the six-yard box, the unmarked forward planted his header wide of the post. It cost his team all three points.

Tuesday’s defeat was the first time the Eagles have failed to score since the 3-0 loss to Liverpool in mid-September.

SCHLUPP STARTS IN MCARTHUR’S ABSENCE

Making his first start for the South Londoners since the 0-0 draw with Brentford, Schlupp was asked to make the midfield more dynamic, expansive and add a threat going forward – something they missed against Villa.

With Palace having the first clear-cut chance of the game in the second minute, Schlupp’s lack of match sharpness led to a heavy through ball to Jordan Ayew inside the area – killing off any opportunity to find a route to goal.

The 28-year-old grew into the game – taking shots from distance, joining in when pushing forward and coming back to solidify the defensive line.

While the Eagles once again lacked conviction in their attacking adventures, Schlupp brought his ability to drive forward and bring the team up the pitch. It was a vast improvement from Saturday’s loss, with Milivojevic’s desire to defend pulling the Eagles back from advancing towards goal.

Schlupp has the ability, with McArthur out until 2022, to claim the starting role alongside Conor Gallagher in the heart of Palace’s midfield.

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira (left) and assistant manager Austin Roberts during the Premier League match at Elland Road, Leeds.

HUGHES’ DEBUT AND TOMKINS MORE COMPOSED

If there was one positive from a disappointing evening, it was seeing Will Hughes make his Crystal Palace debut after months of agonisingly waiting on the bench.

The 26-year-old £6million arrival from Watford showed glimmers of energy and tenacity during his 10-minute cameo. With Gallagher only one yellow card away from a suspension, Hughes might soon have his chance to stamp his authority on the side.

As Leeds began to turn the screw and test Palace’s backline more, James Tomkins used his experience to clear any danger and nearly helped secure the point.

In only his second start under Vieira, the 32-year-old played more passes than his centre-back partner Marc Guehi and showed he can fill in for the side during Joachim Andersen’s absence.

AYEW SHOWS WHY VIEIRA TRUSTS HIM BUT IS AFRAID TO SHOOT

Taking up his role in the right of the front three, Jordan Ayew’s determination and ability to drive and carry the ball up the pitch was Palace’s most significant threat in the first 45.

Ayew, who completed five dribbles and put three crosses into the box in the first half, still lacked confidence in the final third.

The Ghanaian nearly won a penalty when he was bundled over by Pascal Struijk. However, when presented with chances, Ayew continued to panic in front of goal – his last goal for the club came against Leeds in November 2020.

While he had a rather subdued second 45, the first was Ayew’s best half of football in red and blue this season.

MITCHELL POCKETS RAPHINHA AND SHINES IN FRONT OF SOUTHGATE

On the night that England bos Gareth Southgate watched on from the stands, Tyrick Mitchell’s performance could have given the England manager much food for thought.

Winning five tackles in the first half and fending off one of the most potent wingers in the league in the shape of Raphinha, Mitchell continues to show why the Eagles chose not to sign a replacement for Patrick van Aanholt.

In the 68th minute, Mitchell took the ball away from the waiting Raphinha at the back post with a crucial defensive header to clear away the danger.

Having the most clearances, passes, tackles and touches of any Crystal Palace player, Mitchell has grasped his opportunity in Vieira’s side with both hands and is improving week by week.

The Brazilian winger ended up switching wings to attack Joel Ward after failing to beat the 22-year-old.

 


 

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