A frustrating week ends with Palace defeat
Just a week ago we were all on cloud nine after a terrific performance in beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1, but a week is a long time; we followed it up with a 2-0 loss at Newcastle United and yesterday fell to a 3-1 defeat at home against Crystal Palace.
Those were games against teams around us. Newcastle moved ahead of us after their win last Tuesday and yesterday Palace went three points clear of us with a win that eventually they deserved although for some time it looked as though we might get something from it.
Yesterday was anything like the Spurs game. That one was played on what felt like a summers day; yesterday it was very much more February with a biting wind and some rain thrown in as we made our way home at the end.
Before the game there was a lot of confidence in the air. Surely if we played anything like we’d played against Spurs it was an afternoon that would take us three points closer to safety. With Ashley Westwood fit and well again it was back to the team that had beaten Spurs too.
It was a quiet sort of opening to the game. We had a lot of the ball but didn’t really offer too much with it while there didn’t seem to be any threat being offered from Palace.
Their away record is good and they are a difficult side to play against if they manage to get their noses in front and they did just that in the most fortunate of ways with a quarter of an hour gone. Wilfried Zaha got the ball in from the right. It fizzed across our box to Jeff Schlupp to the left. He got the ball back in and it deflected off Phil Bardsley’s thigh and past Tom Heaton for an own goal.
Just what we didn’t want, but for the remainder of the first half, Palace were never really in the game as we dominated but just couldn’t get ourselves level. We had our chances with Wayne Hennessey saving well to deny Chris Wood. We didn’t test the goalkeeper often enough. We had our chances and we had a couple of dangerous free kicks that came to nothing, but it was still 1-0 at half time with work to do.
That forced Sean Dyche into making a change during the interval with Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson coming on for Jeff Hendrick who I thought was unfortunate to be pulled off. But the extra natural wide player would surely help us stretch the Palace defence.
Unfortunately, with less than three minutes gone in the second half, they doubled their lead and that was just about that in terms of us getting anything from the game. Michy Batshuayi finished really well to be fair.
Palace, in fairness, did what they do well, they defended in numbers and made it very difficult for us. We needed to get one back early but we just couldn’t get through them with Ashley Barnes the closest only to be denied by Scott Dann who, surprisingly, received no criticism from the home crowd despite having played over 100 games for Blackburn prior to moving to Palace in 2014.
It all got more and more frustrating against a Palace side who always looked dangerous using their pace on the counter attack and they put the game beyond us when Zaha scored after turning this way and that before placing a shot through James Tarkowski’s legs.
That was the cue for many Burnley fans to leave as Palace coasted to an easy win. But then, right at the end, they might have been kicking themselves. Barnes headed home a Westwood cross in the 90th minute and Hennessey saved well from Peter Crouch, on as a substitute, less than two minutes later. Had that gone in they might just have hit the panic button. We even had another opportunity with Westwood shooting wide.
On the subject of the Barnes goal. It’s the 50th Premier League goal we’ve scored since Steven Defour’s free kick at Manchester United on Boxing Day 2017. Apparently, I’ve read, all of those 50 goals have been scored from inside the penalty box.
It’s Liverpool at Anfield next. Tommy Docherty once said you never get more than a cup of tea there. Ian Brennan knows better and it would be nice to at least go and get a draw there again as we did last season.
The teams yesterday were;
Burnley: Tom Heaton, Phil Bardsley, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jeff Hendrick (Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson ht), Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil (Robbie Brady 72), Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood (Peter Crouch 81). Subs not used: Joe Hart, Matt Lowton, Ben Gibson, Matěj Vydra.
Yellow Card: Ben Mee.
Crystal Palace: Wayne Hennessey, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Scott Dann, James Tomkins, Patrick van Aanholt, Wilfried Zaha (Andros Townsend 79), Max Meyer (James McArthur 71), Cheikhou Kouyaté, Luka Milivojevic, Jeff Schlupp, Michy Batshuayi (Christian Benteke 83). Subs not used: Vicente Guaita, Joel Ward, Martin Kelly, Jordan Ayew.
Yellow Cards: James Tomkins, Max Meyer.
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).
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