Who is the French teenage defender Palace sent a scout to watch this weekend?

Written by Jim Daly

Most Palace fans agree the team needs a new defender or two. Damien Delaney isn't getting any younger, neither is Brede Hangeland, and if Scott Dann gets injured - or god forbid leaves for Chelsea - there isn't much cover.

Which makes news that the club are tracking talented French defender Issa Diop a welcome report.

According to L'Equipe, the Eagles have sent scouts to watch the 19-year-old centre back on a few occasions and one was present for Sunday's game between Diop's Toulouse and Marseille.

Diop broke into the Tolouse first team late last year, making his debut on November 28th and he's kept his place there ever since, playing every game, 15 times in all. 

He has long been considered a talent, and has been capped at every level of youth football for France from Under-16 to Under-18. He is also currently part of the Under-19 squad, and is expected to step up to a more senior level before too long given his impressive form in Ligue 1.

He scored on his second ever appearance for the first team, a neat header at Troyes. Here's a video of that goal (with the Toulouse fans singing a very familiar song after he scores!...)

He'd certainly be an interesting prospect and would probably be exactly the sort of player Palace should be looking at. However, they might face competition in the summer for his signature, with Everton and Manchester United both also interested. 

Meanwhile, there were two other players in that Toulouse vs Marseille game (which finished 1-1 by the way) who have been linked with Palace. Marseille stars Michy Batshuayi and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou had previously been mooted as potential signings, but given the way the season has panned out it's much more likely the Eagles scout was there to watch Diop.

Still, we can but dream. 


It's official, Crystal Palace lost the most points thanks to late goals in the Premier League

Written by Jim Daly

After Liverpool's late controversial penaly winner, we decided to look into just how many goals Palace have conceded in the last few minutes.

And it is A LOT!

In fact, they have let in the joint most amount of goals so far in the Premier League after the 80th minute this season. Benteke's penalty was the 11th goal Alan Pardew's men have let in late on so far this campaign; the same number as Norwich.

And as a result they have also thrown away the most number of points - a total of 10 points lost thanks to goals conceded in the final 10 minutes; the joint highet amount with Everton.

We asked our followers on Twitter to help us compile the list and @FullPitchPress crunched the numbers to come up with the below...

With that extra 10 points, Palace would be on 43 points, sitting in ninth in the table looking forward to a comfortable end of season run and maybe even a late push for Europe.

As it is they are looking nervously over their shoulder at the bottom of the table, with one eye also on an FA Cup quarter-final clash with Reading.

But why have the Eagles let in so many goals late in games this season? Is it a lack of fitness or a lack of concentration? Certainly it's something that needs to be addressed as it's now become a clear issue.

But it can work both ways; Palace have also scored eight goals in the last 10 minute this season; three of which have been when we were already winning (0 pts won), four whilst drawing (8 pts won) and one whilst losing (0 pts won) So if you're going to bet on goals in Palace games, bet on the last 10 minutes!

Why do Palace concede so much late on? Comment below!


Alan Pardew accuses Christian Benteke of diving for Liverpool's winner at Selhurst

Written by Robert Sutherland

Did Christian Benteke dive to win Liverpool a last minute penalty at Selhurst on Sunday? Alan Pardew certainly thinks so. And looking at the replay it's easy to understand why.

The Belgian went down very easily under the challenge of Damien Delaney thanks to the slightest of contact from the Irishman's knee on the forward's trailing leg.

It certainly wasn't enough to send him over but down he went and after initially waving play on, referee awarded the spot-kick following a late flag from his assistant.

After the game Pardew said: "He certainly made a big meal of it. If it had been us, we would not have got it.

"Damien pulls out, the follow through of his knee gets it. That's tough.

“That touch doesn’t warrant the dive he makes, and it’s the dive that makes the linesman’s mind up. It’s a worrying issue in the game.

“I’ve heard (Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool defender) Jamie Carragher saying there was contact and he was within his rights to go down. Jamie Carragher is saying that? He’s an ex pro. Come on.

“Both of them (Benteke and the referee): really frustrated with that. You try to be fair, to say the right thing to your players, and send out the right message to the players.

“Everyone’s seen the penalty. If you’re the referee and see the centre-half pulling out of the challenge, you don’t give the penalty. And I don’t think he did.

“The linesman assumes that little touch is a penalty. He makes the most of it. If you think that touch affects the fall and the way he lands, then you really need to be consulted.

“That touch doesn’t warrant that dive. If that touch warrants a collapse like that, then wow, we really need to say: ‘Come on’.”

Benteke saw it differently, of course. “I think he touched me otherwise I wouldn’t have gone down,” he said. “The referee’s given a penalty and so he thinks it’s the right decision.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp funilly enough couldn't see anythong wrong with it either: “If you run and you get this touch, you fall down.”

Palace's search for a league win in 2016 now stretches to 12 games, which let's face it, is relegation form.

Did Benteke dive or was it a legit penalty? Comment below!


Martin O'Neill leaves door open for Damien Delaney to return to Ireland side

Written by Robert Sutherland

Damien Delaney could well feature at Euro 2016 for Ireland - even though he retired from international duty last year.

The Boys In Green boss Martin O'Neill has seemingly left the door open for Damo, eho has been superb for Palace this season.

The 34-year-old has been a regular at the back for the Eagles for the past three top flight season and continues to put in superb performances. His man marking job on Diego Costa in Palace's win at Stamford Bridge earlier this season still goes down as one of the greatest individual performances in a red a blue shirt ever.

And O'Neill has finally taken notice, telling TV3: “The summer before last when we had a trip to America: Damien played in the match before that, I think it was the Turkey game, and I think Damien felt that he was never going to be a first choice at the time and declined to go to America.

“I mean that didn’t augur too well, whatever he says about it, he said that he would make himself available if he had a decent chance of getting into the squad, or into the team.

“I wasn’t in the position to actually make those decisions, I couldn’t guarantee anybody in the side. So we went out separate ways at that time.

“Don’t get me wrong, Damien’s had an excellent season with Crystal Palace, he is on the wrong side of 30, he hasn’t played that many competitive games for the Republic of Ireland through his career, but I have to say that the way that we have in terms of centre halves, if we get a few more injuries, I certainly couldn’t rule out anything, particularly if players have an interest in playing as well.”

Delaney had announced his retirement from international duty for Ireland back in August after nine apperances. In an instagram post he wrote: "I just want to clarify my position with regards to the Ireland national team and my omission from the current squad.

"I have no issue with Roy Keane and shook his hand this summer at a Cork City European match. I know that at the age of 34 the future of Irish football does not lie with me, the rigours of premier league football and the 24/7 dedication required takes its toll so I look on the international break as a chance to recover, that said I spoke to Martin O Neill and contrary to his recent comments I never asked for a regular starting position.

"I did however disagree with certain aspects which out of respect to Martin and the national team will remain private. Ireland need to plan for the long term even if it means sacrificing one maybe two major tournaments.

"We need to build an identity and team ethos from schoolboy football to full international that will last. I understand people weren't enamoured with Mr. Trapattoni but whether you agreed with his philosophy or not you have to respect the man and the results he achieved with his philosophy.

"There are many footballing philosophies and we need to choose one that suits Irish traits and strengths best, similar to what Wales are now achieving or what Mr. Trapattoni achieved in his time in charge.

"I'll always be an ardent supporter and wish I could of contributed more."

Palace boss Alan Pardew is convinced Delaney would reconsider his position if given a chance, and could star for Ireland at the Euros in France this summer. He told the Sunday Times. "I think he is big enough and bold enough to swallow his pride and do the right thing.

"Delaney is a maverick player. He is not of a norm. They all come with different ingredients and you have to make sure you hit the right buttons with them players.

"He has that balance of a left-foot delivery down the left-hand channel. Some of the top Premier League teams don't have that luxury of having that type of quality from their centre half."

Should Damo be playing for Ireland? Comment below!


Wilf Zaha dreaming of a Euro 2016 spot with England

Written by Robert Sutherland

There could be a big Palace contingent at Euro 2016.

Wayne Hennessey and Joe Ledley (and maybe Jonny Williams) are going to be there with Wales but could they be joined by more? Scott Dann clearly deserves an England call-up while yesterday we heard that Ireland boss Martin O'Neill is ready to give Damien Delaney another chance.

And now Wilf Zaha has thrown his hat into the ring, claiming he'd love a spot at the Euros with England.

And in our opinion he totally deserves one!

"It is like a dream playing for England and hopefully I can get back in there. I have not given up," he told the Evening Standard.

"There are good passers in the England team and there is pace but I can beat a man which will open up a space for someone else. That is what I can add, just more skill really, because I take on people more."

Wilf, of course, was capped twice by England while playing for Palace in the Championship in 2012, a time when he totally tore opposition defences apart.

After a failed stint at Manchester United where he was never played, he's getting back to his best and puts that down to regular football.

"I am just trying to put in decent performances every week for Palace. Everyone talks about ‘inconsistent Wilf’ so that is my main aim. If I manage to get into the England set-up then I will be buzzing.

"Now I know what I have to do. Before it was just get it and run around. Now I know when I need to run with it and when I need to cross it."

Does Wilf deserve a spot at Euro 2016 with England? Comment below!


Listen to Jason Puncheon talk about enjoying being in with Palace fans in the away end at Tottenham

Written by Robert Sutherland

Jason Puncheon is currently injured and out for a bit, but instead of watching Palace's FA Cup win at Spurs from the dugout, he joined the 5,000 Eagles fans in the away end.

And he loved it. 

It was the first time the 29-year-old had sat with the Palace fans since he was 10 and he told TalkSPORT he would do it again given the chance.

“I would do it again, definitely,” he said. “I really enjoyed it from the moment I walked in there to the moment I left.

“I was going mad [when the goal went in], as soon as we scored you just felt the place erupt.

“Palace fans can carry you through a game as a player, so I just thought I wanted to experience that myself to see what it was like. It was a wonderful experience, it was great.”

Listen to the entire interview below in the soundcloud player; Punch really does come across as a genuinely top man who loves Palace and the fans.