Crystal Palace ended a two-game losing streak in the Premier League to claim a 1-1 draw at West Ham on Sunday afternoon.
Here are Adam Sells’ takeaways from the London Stadium:
PALACE MAKE THEIR POINT
There’s no such thing as a bad point away from home in the Premier League.
Palace recovered from a goal down to claim a deserved draw at the London Stadium.
West Ham seemed, perhaps understandably, a little flat after their Thursday night Europa League excursion, but the Eagles contained their hosts reasonably well and had their moments.
There were not too many clear-cut chances, but once level, the visitors looked like they could push on and win the game.
Understandably, given the previous two defeats at the hands of Everton and Luton, Roy Hodgson wasn’t going to be too gung-ho in search of a winner.
Having been superior in every single metric aside of goals in the previous two games, it was important to stop the rot and ensure that his team came away with a positive result.
There was certainly an argument in throwing on one of the wide players on the bench, but not at the risk of losing the point, given the current run.
ODSONNE ODDS ON TO BE TOP SCORER
Though it wasn’t the most free flowing game, Hodgson’s men created a few decent opportunities, which in the main fell to Odsonne Edouard. After going close at the beginning of each half, the French forward squeezed a shot inside the far post on fifty-three minutes – cashing in on an error from Konstantinos Mavropanos – to level things up.
Edouard has had his critics of late, but his goalscoring record stands up to scrutiny – having been responsible for almost half the club’s league goals thus far this term.
The former Celtic hitman now has seven goals in all competitions this term, hitting the back of the net every 173 minutes on average.
When you consider the team has had to do without the creative talent of both Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze for long spells, the ratio may yet improve.
Palace have struggled to find a consistent goalscoring striker for the majority of the previous ten seasons since returning to the Premier League. They may now have found that man.
RICHER FOR HAVING CHRIS
Following the long-term injury to Cheick Doucoure and the late withdrawal of Jeffery Schlupp, Chris Richards stepped into the midfield berth as he had done as a late substitute against Nottingham Forest recently.
The popular USA international was excellent and Palace boss Hodgson, may well have found an excellent solution in terms of anchoring the middle of the park.
Though he has only enjoyed limited game time since his arrival in SE25, mainly due to the imperious pairing of Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi, there is little doubt that Richards is a very talented player.
His display in East London suggests that the huge blow of losing Doucoure may be able to be offset in some way, with the composed and athletic American effortlessly slipping into what some may have seen as an unlikely role.
A PLATFORM FOR SUCCESS
With the squad so short of attacking depth and with the difficult fixture list that awaits Palace during December, Hodgson may have to find a different way.
That list includes the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, Brighton and Chelsea – games the Eagles can expect to have less possession.
The strength and defensive stability of the afore mentioned Richards, Jairo Riedewald and Jefferson Lerma may be the best way to eke out points in the games ahead.
Competitive and uncompromising, those three are equipped to stop the opposition and a platform for the team to pick up points. This, with the hope that likes of Eze (if fit), Olise and Edouard to provide the magic at the top end of the pitch.
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