Crystal Palace played out a goalless draw with Fulham at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.
The west Londoners had the better chances to win the game, but they were unable to find a way past Sam Johnstone in the Palace goal.
Here are Edmund Brack’s four takeaways from the game:
RESPECT THE POINT, BUT PALACE BLUNT IN ATTACK
All in all, a point against a side that finished above the Eagles last season is better than no points at all.
However, the ability to truly get Bernd Leno’s gloves dirty left an overwhelming sense of frustration at the end of the contest.
On his 100th appearance for the club, Eberechi Eze put on a show in the first half.
The Greenwich-born playmaker was gliding across the pitch, driving forward and slaloming between players in the first 45, but he was unable to deliver the killer pass or final shot.
He did go closest for the Eagles to breaking the deadlock, jinking the ball back onto his right foot on the edge of the box before half-time but just sending a shot wide of the bottom right-hand corner.
Jean-Philippe Mateta produced another noteworthy performance from the bench, but he was also unable to squeeze his shot towards the end of the game beyond the ex-Arsenal stopper.
Other than those two efforts, there was little other attacking output from the Eagles during the 90 minutes.
SQUAD DEPTH COULD HAVE BEEN THE DIFFERENCE
The ability to bring the likes of Alex Iwobi, Carlos Vinicius and Harry Wilson, although not world-class players, they do have 327 Premier League appearances between them and nearly won the game for the visitors.
Palace’s bench, in contrast, consisted of two youngsters – Jesurun Rak-Sakyi and Malcolm Ebiowei – who should be out on loan and have one Premier League start between them. Hodgson was also forced to name two goalkeepers on the bench once again to complete the matchday squad.
There was a 10-minute swing in momentum after the introduction of the trio by Marco Silva, which saw Fulham well and truly on top.
Their bright spell should have been capped off with a goal, but when Harrison Reed slipped a cross towards the back post for the arriving Willian, the former Chelsea and Arsenal winger could only hammer his shot straight at Johnstone.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but if Roy Hodgson’s squad had been completed with the necessary attacking additions over the summer, outcomes already this season against Arsenal, Brentford and now Fulham, could have been more positive.
The squad will be more well-equipped for this division once Mathues Franca and Michael Olise return after the international break, but Hodgson has been forced to do the job with one hand tied behind his back at the start of this season.
SAM JOHNSTONE PLAYING WITH AN EXCELLENT CONSISTENCY
After 10 minutes, Palace were already indebted to their starting goalkeeper for still being in the contest.
The ex-West Brom and Aston Villa keeper made two smart stops in quick succession to keep out Andreas Pereira and Willian.
He continued to produce top saves throughout the match, denying Raul Jimenez and Willian, once again, throughout the 90 minutes when Fulham broke behind the Palace defence.
With Dean Henderson coming in – who will get his first chance to impress in a starting line-up tomorrow in the EFL Cup third round clash at Manchester United – it could have thrown Johnstone, but he’s performing with an excellent consistency.
ROTATION, ROTATION, ROTATION
With the Palace boss confirming after the game that top goalscorer Odsonne Edouard was forced to come off with a hamstring problem, a squad that is already dangerously thin in attacking areas, will travel to Old Trafford tomorrow for the EFL Cup.
The likes of Rak-Sakyi and Ebiowei are primed to show what they can do, and Rob Holding could also come in for his first Crystal Palace since signing from Arsenal.
But Jeffrey Schlupp, Cheick Doucoure, Jordan Ayew, Eberechi Eze and Tyrick Mitchell could all be rested with another trip to United pencilled in for Saturday in the Premier League.
With injuries to Jefferson Lerma and Naouirou Ahamada, Hodgson’s insufficient squad will really be tested this week.
PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD
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