1 – Anger Understandable, but it is Time to Move On
Awarded a penalty in injury time, the mind immediately goes to where the additional two points would take Palace. Score and Palace are level with the teams outside the bottom three. Miss and it is back to the bottom of the league. If it had been Luka Milivojević missing the penalty, we go away disappointed. That it was Christian Benteke after a heated discussion, against the will of his teammates and manager who missed it turned that disappointment into anger. And the anger was justified; he had let a lot of people down. However, the intent, selfish though it may have been, was not malicious. There is a match to play on Tuesday – there is no time to dwell. There is no time to let the anger continue to boil. It is time to move on; Benteke can help that with a goal against Watford.
2 – Penalty Aside, Benteke Played Well
While the focus has understandably been on Benteke’s penalty miss and his goal drought, taking a step back, that was the number 17’s best game for Palace this season. He was integral to much of the build-up play – key to both penalty awards and Scott Dann’s goal. There was no shortage of work from him, his link up play, particularly with Wilfried Zaha, was encouraging. Palace were dominant because Benteke was getting back to being the player who has an excellent Premier League record of 66 goals in 141 games (despite the current drought). We need him back at his best; hopefully an objective view of his whole performance will outweigh the admittedly self-generated negative feeling the penalty created.
3 – Townsend Needs to Add Impact to Endeavour
Whichever role he has been asked to play this season, be it in Frank De Boer’s wayward formation, on either flank under Roy Hodgson or up front, there has been no shortage of application from Andros Townsend. He has been a willing runner, helping his full-back out and endeavouring to join Zaha and Benteke as much as he can. However, approaching Christmas and the half-way point in the season, he is yet to score or look as dangerous with the ball as he did under Sam Allardyce. Saturday was encouraging with three shots and two key passes but these need to be more impactful; Townsend needs to start being a match-winner.
4 – Fosu-Mensah Needs In-Game Diligence
Timothy Fosu-Mensah has obvious ability; pace, strength and excellent timing when it comes to tackling. His absence from the team has been a topic of debate with Joel Ward starting ahead of him at right-back and four alternatives at centre-back. Against Bournemouth it was apparent as to why he has found it hard to break in to the side. His in-game diligence is something which, as to be expected of a teenager playing in the Premier League, seems to be lacking. James Tomkins spent much of the first half talking the youngster through the game. With Mamadou Sakho looking like he has a spell on the side-lines, the team’s organisation cannot afford Fosu-Mensah to be learning on the pitch. He has to develop to displace to rejuvenated Ward in the team and make the most of this loan.
5 – Two Points Dropped but Still All to Play For
Results can be spun to be two points dropped, or a point gained. Undefeated in five, or one win in five. However it has come about, the team, albeit bottom of the league, are within touching distance of climbing out of the drop-zone. It has been a solid turnaround by Hodgson and his staff and there really is all to play for, despite the first seven games being written off. The focus needs to be on the games ahead and strengthening in the transfer window. We have a chance; Saturday’s penalty must be the last one we squander this season.