Crystal Palace 1 - West Bromwich Albion 0

Date: Sunday 13th May 2018 
Competition: Barclays Premier League
(4-3-3) Foster 7.2, Nyom 5.3, Dawson 6.7, Hegazi 6.0, Gibbs 5.8, Livermore 6.3, Krychowiak 4.8 (Chadli, 62 2.8), Brunt 6.0, Rodriguez 5.2 (Sturridge, 73 3.3), Rondón 5.3 (Robson-Kanu, 70 4.3), McClean 6.2
Unused subs: Myhill, Burke, McAuley, Field
Manager: Darren Moore (c) 5.8
Referee: Jon Moss (West Yorkshire) 5.6
Attendance: 25,357

Brendan Clegg:

Despite confirmation of the inevitable on Tuesday night I was looking forward to the game and a positive performance.

My heart sank a bit on seeing the team sheet with Phillips out - something you'd not really have said even 10 games ago but he's been brilliant under Moore in a system that plays to his strengths. And worse, it looked like rather than replace him like-for-like that someone would be shunted out wide right for Krychowiak to come into the centre - I'd have preferred to give anyone with pace a go from Burke, Leko, Sturridge or Chadli but I remained in hope that of the options, Brunt would be out there to take care of the ball and hit inswing crosses or shots.

From kick-off it was obvious JRod was out there and I thought this was a bad decision - it meant 2 players not being in the same roles that have worked for us but also, I'm afraid to say, returned us back to what Pulis and, to an extent, Pardew kept getting wrong - no pace on the wing, therefore no way to get up the pitch and support Rondon.

I love Big Dave, he's given us some pride back and exposed the other charlatans who were in charge with these players but he fell into the same trap as them here.

And I think it's fair to say that the first half was a return to Pulis Albion for the above reasons - we had a couple of half chances but it was mostly wave after wave of Palace.

We defended well but we were getting real problems down the right - not only could JRod not impact the game going forwards but he couldn't handle the brutal pace of Van Aarnholt and Zaha and they caused us lots of problems. With better finishing we might have gone it at the break a goal or 2 down. When we did get the ball we couldn't keep it and Rondon cut a lone figure.

2nd half we pressed up a bit and looked a bit better but we still had creativity problems - we had some promising looking breaks but didn't have anyone on the pitch who could hit the right pass and at the other end we had some more lucky escapes.

In fairness to Moore and his staff they didn't mess about, bringing on Chadli for Krychowiak and shifting JRod to the centre. I can understand it but again I'd have given Burke a go to try and push Palace back a bit.

Unfortunately Chadli looked every inch a player without minutes in him and he gave the ball away sloppily a few times before Palace took the lead on 70 minutes, again with an overload on our right hand side.

I thought Moore reacted too quicky in swapping Rondon for HRK instantly - I'd really have liked to see Rondon and Sturridge given 10-15 minutes together. We rallied a bit and through sheer hard work and basic wing play McClean created a very good chance for JRod who failed to make contact from 6 yards for a certain goal and then Chadli who again took too many touches instead of pulling the trigger.

Sturridge came on but Palace scored another from their left side again, aided by a lucky deflection and poor tracking.

And that was that - Uncle Roy again applied the boa constrictor to the match, as he does, and squeezed it out without any danger.

I think the season ticket pricing approach is a good move and I still think our best way to go is to try and carry momentum into next season with as many retained players as we can and continuity on the coaching side. The pople who have stepped in deserve to be involved. I will still go for Pearson - he's done it before, he has an eye for a player, his teams play entertaining football and, although he's been a difficult and hard-headed character in the past I don't think that's a bad thing; someone who can manage upwards and take the fight to the idiots in charge as well as the opposition might be no bad thing, especially if he's learned a bit from past mistakes.

  • Foster - 7 Made some good stops and no chance for the goals. 7 for the season - he'd be in my England squad.
  • Nyom - 5 Had a difficult afternoon and did miss Phillips. Kept going. 6 for the season - always gives his best. Might struggle next year if we have the ball more than the opposition.
  • Dawson - 7 Another battling performance, kept blocking. 7 for the season - I'd do everythign to keep him Captain material and has excelled in the last 6 games at centre back. Would score 10 goals in the Championship.
  • Hegazi - 6 Defending well for periods and never gave in. A few wild moments positionally. 7 for the season - A snip for the money, don't be too hard on his mistakes in a first season. Has shown enough to prove he can be a comfortable EPL player.
  • Gibbs - 6 Palace didn't get a sniff his side and I think he's benefitted from having the same player ahead of him under Big Dave. 7 for the season - not done a lot wrong, could play in any side outside the top 6.
  • Brunt - 6 I thought he covered zones well again but he had no passes to hit and his set pieces were poor. 6 for the season - has shown real leadership and has never given up.
  • Livermore - 7 Took the fight to Palace all over the pitch, incredibly showed great feet and composure under pressure, still no idea what to do going forward. 6 for the season - Not all his fault but only really played well under Big Dave. Idiots like Pardew and Pulis playing him as a number 10 or wide right in a 3 haven't helped. I'd try and keep him unless we get a daft offer.
  • Jrod - 5 Couldn't get into it, missed a decent chance, worked hard. 6 for the season. Again has suffered because of managers putting him in the wrong place. Number 10/Morrison role is where he should've been all season. Decent goal record would have been better if he wasn't dropped when on form (idiots again!). Try and keep him - he'll score 20+ goals next year in a creative team and he runs all day,
  • Krychowiak - 5 Not fit, a few good moments, a few sloppy moments. 4 for the season. A massive disappointment and a player we didn't need at crazy money. I still don't know what his best position is or what he does. Terrible dress-sense on social media. Unforgiveable.
  • Howlin' Mad McClean - 7 I thought he had a another solid game, running hard, and created chances. Some great tackles. 6 for the season - made too many mistakes that led to goals early-on but should've played way more games with our wide injuries. I'd keep him if we can, will be a machine over 46 games.
  • Rondon - 5 Thankless task. Not really given a chance. 7 for the season - Would shade my player of the year for his running stats and effort through all Acts of our season and for proving he can have a decent scoring record (and score decent goals) when supported with service. I'd try and keep him too - he and JRod would fire us to promotion next season.
  • Chadli - 4 Looked rusty as hell. 2 for the season - I hate Pulis but he should've gone on pre-season like everyone else. A wasted talent and if we get 18 million for him I doubt anyone would be bothered.
  • HRK - 5 A couple of decent turns but this is a level too high for him. 2 for the season - if we can get a fee for him we should take it.
  • Sturridge - 5 Touch and movement looked good but nowhere near enough quality around him. 2 for the season - Was 100% worth a gamble on loan. Was 100% not worth risking to start away at Chelsea with his injury record Pardew you absolute moron.

Further season reviews...

  • Myhill - 2 Doesn't want to play. Not acceptable. Thanks and goodbye.
  • GMac - 6 Desire is never in doubt. He's worth 10k a week for one more year even if it's only for 10 midweek matches where we just want him to sit deep and head it away. If he gets a better offer than that elsewhere good luck to him.
  • Evans - 3 His talent on the ball is wasted in a team like ours. Has downed tools a bit too. Thanks for the good times and goodbye.
  • Barry - 3 I thought at times he showed great class on the ball and reading the game but the legs are gone. Get rid if we can.
  • Yacob - 6 Always does a job. He can probably get a better deal elsewhere but I'd offer him a contract due to the number of games we have.
  • Mozza - 2 I'd offer him a deal but it has to be appearance-based. Has been a great player and we'd have stayed up if he'd been fit for 10 more games.
  • Phillips - 6 Real redemption in the last 5 games. Get his tail up and he's a massive player for us next year. Keep him.
  • Burke - 4 So much more to come I hope. Needed more minutes. Hopefully a good pre-season will kickstart his career.
  • Field - 6 Criminally underused at times. I have a lot of hope for next year but needs patience. For the games he's played he'd have been better out on loan.
  • Leko - 2 Looked an incredible prospect 3 years ago and has gone nowhere. HAs to play football next season even if it's lower leagues. Still have high hopes.
  • Ali G - 0 Can't be worth it can he?

Thanks to everyone who's contributed and read the reports. Hopefully the next time I write it'll be after a good appointment and transfer window. Enjoy your summers. Boing boing!

Paul Collins:

Sad to say we just did not have the quality of player that Palace had. In addition to Zaha and Van Aanholt there was Milivojevic, Cabaye and Townsend who all had good games and Tomkins had the measure of Rondon whenever the very few decent balls came his way.

We just have to get more pace into our team. As for Sturridge and Krychowiak neither looked anything like fit. Sturridge was set up with a decent chance just about 12 yds out, his first touch took the ball five yards in front of him. I felt for Brunt who gave everything and looked totally shattered at the end.

Player of the season should probably be a pass this year but if it goes ahead anyone from Dawson, Foster and Hegazi.

Many thanks to Brendan for his colossal shift this season.


After the final nail was hammered in by Southampton the Palace game was always going to be a struggle. We stuck to the task and didn't fold, but created very little. Not surprising, I suppose.

So our 'anno horribilis' (to plagiarize Her Majesty) has come to an end. Well, sort of. The question is, what next? The board have a bit of a dilemma. Moore is hugely popular and rightly so. If he is not chosen as our next manager a lot of fans will be pissed off, but I can't see him being given the job. If he had had ten games I think he would have kept us up, but he may not be ready yet for the grind of getting out of the Championship. If he doesn't get the job I hope he is rewarded with a key role in the club.

When I look at the playing staff, it's hard to imagine what the team will look like in August. The loanees will be gone, the prima-donnas and hangers-on should be rooted out, our premium players will be sniped, our old legs will be even older and our young legs are untried. I don't see an immediate assault on promotion, unless we can keep players like Dawson, Phillips, Gibbs, Rondon and Jrod. And we will need to recruit a handfull of players tough enough to withstand the rigors of the Championship. It's a big ask. I just hope we don't end up like Sunderland.

We have talked about the disastrous tenures of Pardew and football's anti-Christ, Pulis, but our Chinese owners have a lot to answer for. I hope Jenkins is able to bridge the gap and he sticks around long enough to see the job through. It may take a while.

I'd also like to thank Brendan for the great analysis week in week out. Well done!

See you in the Championship.