August 27, 2016
“The most clueless, soulless, directionless half of football since George Burley. No fight, no skill, no desire, no plan. Utterly pathetic.”
The verdict of TEB’s very own James Howland in what was a very sombre TEB WhatsApp group chat at half time against Bournemouth.
Onlookers might think it was drastically bad for Palace after reading that, but the fact was that it was only 1-0 to Bournemouth at the time shows just how bad Palace were in that opening half. It was a performance I have rarely seen from Palace. They were laboured. They were boring, and above all, they quite frankly looked uninterested in the opening forty-five minutes.
There could be plenty of reasons why Palace were so poor in that opening half, and I am sure we all have our theories, but from the looks of it, the departures and the current mood around the place seems to be rubbing off on the players.
We’ve gone from one extreme to another yet again this week. The high profile signing of Christian Benteke peaked everyone’s interest, and then the news that Wilfried Zaha is looking to maybe swap South London for North brought yet more unpleasant reading for Palace fans. It certainly is never straightforward in SE25.
All we needed was a bright start and a positive result which would have been a much needed pick-me-up, but we didn’t really get either of those in all honesty.
The first-half was shocking, beyond shocking if you ask me. And missing the penalty was just the ultimate kick in the teeth.
Bournemouth are a good side, with a terrific manager, someone who could manage at the very top level , but my word, didn’t we make them look like Barcelona?
There was no pressure, no passion, and like James said no ‘fight’ in the first half. It is worrying that we are capable of performing that poorly. I would be really worried if we were a newly promoted side playing like we did. We are not a newly promoted side. We are a side that has some top players, and the way they performed was unacceptable.
Alan Pardew has said that this squad is one in transition because of the high profile departures. It looks as though this season we might have to take the rough with the smooth and it will be interesting to see how this team reacts further into the season, because I still feel there is an underlying issue.
To me, the opening half backed that up. There will be murmurs, and of course people will talk about Pardew and whether he is the right fit for this club. For me, it is a tricky question to answer, but it would be a question which I will happily answer after another five to ten games, because we still have to see what will happen between now and the end of the transfer window.
We all know what we need, we need another striker, preferably Loic Remy, but anyone might do now in the current market. We also need another one, or possibly two midfielders, and then a final defender might not do any harm to our current squad. As with this transfer merry-go-round, we will just have to wait in anticipation.
I don’t want to finish this article without looking back at some of the performances. There wasn’t any particular standout performers for me, Jason Puncheon was good all-round, Andros Townsend was lively throughout, and is certainly proving me wrong.
But one thing the game highlighted quite clearly was that the 4-4-2 formation needs a lot of work. I still believe it could work if we get the right personnel in, but at times Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham were just lacking in that partnership.
We also learned that once again, Wickham is not a left-winger. So let’s hope Pardew doesn’t start to the get any ideas of thrusting the centre forward out there too many times this season.
A lot of attention was on Benteke, and rightly so. Palace has never spent that amount of money on a player. Just imagine the scenes if Simon Jordan forked out that amount of cash all those years ago in the Premier League.
He played well, but he still looks short of match sharpness. Overall, I think he will be a big success for us but as much as the twenty-five year old has to adapt to our game, we as a squad need to adapt to his. As all too often we were hitting long, hopeless balls into the box hoping for the Belgian giant to be there. He is better than that, and we are, it will just take time.
Scoring a last minute goal always feels good, it’s awfully better when it is a winning one. An equaliser is almost as good.
Looking ahead, I’m of the opinion that this season can only get better, but under one condition. That we sign the right personnel because if we don’t it could be a long and arduous campaign. And we don’t want that, do we?
We Have To Adapt To Benteke Strengths appeared first on TheEaglesBeak.