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Hopkin Looking To Curl One…

A regular blog dedicated to Crystal Palace Football Club through the eyes of a fanatical supporter, contemplating everything from results to the colour of Stuart O'Keefe's boot laces…

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

Picking Up The Pieces

Morning all.

As we look back on last weekend’s defeat to Southampton, it’s easy to point the finger of blame in a number of different directions. Having crumbled in such quick-fire fashion at the beginning of the second half, there are many who feel that a lack of team spirit is to blame for our troubles, with Ian Holloway on the receiving end of criticism over a perceived inability to motivate the players sufficiently for the task at hand.

With rumours of a half-time falling out between Dean Moxey and Marouane Chamakh being given credence by the reports in one or two national papers yesterday, it seems as if Holloway may have had a job of hands diffusing a potential fight during the interval, let alone getting his thoughts on our performance across to the team, which in truth would go some way to explaining our lacklustre start to the second period.

It seems that Moxey felt aggrieved at Chamakh’s decision to fall to the floor before Boruc had made contact and told him as much shortly after the incident occurred. I didn’t see it at the time, but according to those who did, a minor shoving match then ensued, with the pair intent on continuing their confrontation in the dressing room once the half-time whistle had sounded.

For what it’s worth, I’m sure that scenarios such as this one take place up and down the country on a weekly basis, only to be kept firmly in-house rather than being aired out in public. Although emotions were undoubtedly running high between the two at the time, it will almost certainly have blown over by now, with my only real concern being how the press came to learn of the details surrounding their half-time row.

Since the result, Jimmy Kebe, Barry Bannan and Chamakh himself have spoken to the press about our performance, with all three sounding surprisingly buoyant about the next few games, despite our recent poor form. In all of their comments, there were regular references made to the need for us to cut individual errors out of our game, with split second lapses in concentration having cost us dearly in both of our last fixtures.

Whilst the rapid manner in which we conceded both goals at St Mary’s put a stop to any ambitions we held of returning to London with points in our back pocket, there were certainly positives to take from our first-half display, with our general shape seemingly far more structured from a defensive perspective, even though we failed to pose any serious threat to the Southampton goal.

As we begin to build towards next weekend’s game against Liverpool, it feels as if the manner of our performance will dictate the mood of our fan base to a far greater extent than the result itself. Given the Reds start to the season under the guidance of Brendan Rogers, it would be a tad foolish to expect a team in our current form to upset the apple cart, but for most there is a basic desire to see the team fight as one, regardless of the scoreline.

Obviously a positive result would send everyone home with somewhat stunned grins on their faces next weekend, but when taking into account our current predicament, it’s imperative that we return from our trip to the North West with an element of pride in our performance.

The sense of deflation amongst our support is not simply a consequence of the losses we’ve accumulated, it’s thanks in the most part, to a perceived lack of fight within the team. As soon as that element of our play returns, so too will the full and unequivocal backing of our supporters. We don’t demand a great deal in the way of finesse, but we do expect an unerring commitment to the cause from every player who represents us. With a bit of luck, it won’t be long before we see that side of our club reappear.

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Crystal Palace News: 30/09/2013

All the news from SE25 in the last 24 hours

If you’re a subscriber to Palace Player, you can access extended highlights of our trip to Southampton, not that you’ll enjoy them that much…

Barclays Premier League, Sat 28 Sep 2013, 15:00

Mile Jedinak’s recent form has been far from sparkling, a fact not avoided by this Australian sports site, who have been keeping an eye on his progress.

Bad Week
Mile Jedinak has largely impressed in a struggling Crystal Palace team so far this season, but the midfielder was at fault for Southampton’s second goal in a 2-0 loss at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday. Jedinak failed to clear a loose ball on the edge of the area, triggering a quick exchange of passes that ended in Pablo Osvaldo sealing all three points for the hosts, a result which left Palace second from bottom, with just one win from six attempts in the Premier League.

UK

Jimmy Kebe remains in buoyant mood despite our recent defeat, claiming that the team have every chance of getting something out of our trip to Anfield next Saturday.

“I thought we did well in the first half and we respected the plan. But unfortunately, two goals in two minutes, it’s like it’s game over.

“The gaffer was not happy about the game but we’ll have time to talk about it this week.

“We had a good shape and hit them on the counter attack, but again, if you conceded two goals in two minutes, it’s difficult.

“People might say (the issue) is confidence because we haven’t won a lot of games this season but it’s just the beginning.

“We will have to take the positives from the first half of the game and move forward.”

On a personal level, the former Reading man is hoping to reach maximum levels for Palace as soon as possible and believes all the new players need to click if they’re to move away from the relegation zone.

“I was pleased to be back on the field,” said Kebe. “I haven’t played for a while so it was my first game for five months.

“At the moment, Crystal Palace have just got promoted so we have to learn, and I had the same problem at Reading last year.

Mile Jedinak is also in defiant mood, saying that the results will turn for us soon, regardless of the mistakes in recent weeks.

“I think the results will come. Even today, from what we had last week, you could see the difference.

“We were a bit more organised structurally. We had the game plan right, there was no confusion.”

He added: “I am very positive and very encouraged by what we are seeing but it has got to turn into points sooner or later.

“It is going to take time, but to me if you’re a good footballer you try to adapt as quick as you can and you’ve got to be willing to adapt as quick as you can.

“That’s what’s happening. It’s always going to take time. It’s not for lack of trying.”

Barry Bannan feels as though our fortunes will turn round sooner rather than later, with silly mistakes costing us dear.

Scottish midfielder Bannan refused to be downhearted after the game.

He said: “I think everyone believes that we’re good enough, it is just a matter of getting a win and getting that run of games.

“If we got the penalty in the first half and scored, it is a whole different game. It is things like that which turn games and it happened in their favour today.

“I was behind it and I thought it was a penalty from where I was looking but I’ve not seen a replay.

“Goals change games. They were starting to get a bit wayward, they were shooting from long distance and they couldn’t really break us down.

With our recent run of defeats, most fans have been searching for a reason why our performances have dropped off. I’ve looked into the possibility of our team spirit having been diluted since the summer.

The strength of collective spirit within our club is a subject that has always been seen as key to our potential success, regardless of the abilities of individual players. There are countless examples of Palace squads who have prevailed in the face of supposed inferiority, in fact, it’s a tag we’ve often thrived under, but as it stands, that never say die attitude is nowhere to be seen.

In many ways, our success last season, when looked at in tandem with the January sale of Wilfried Zaha has acted as somewhat of a double-edged sword for our chances of Premier League survival, with everyone fully aware that the loss of such a pivotal attacking aspect to our play, would force the club to bring in a raft of summer signings, which unfortunately appear to have diluted the spirit which saw us battling so hard for huge periods of our previous campaign.

There are a number of individuals within our 25 man squad who undoubtedly understand the importance that we as supporters place on work-rate, but thanks to the arrival of so many new faces, it is bound to take time for everyone to gel as a group.

It’s proven to an extremely delicate balancing act for Holloway, who I’m sure felt that we needed significant reinforcements to the squad which won us promotion, if we serious about trying to stay there, but until both results and the manner of our performances improve, questions are bound to asked as to whether he’s made too many changes too quickly.

Bannan felt the game changed course following Martin Atkinson’s decision to caution Marouane Chamakh for diving after the Moroccan went down too easily, a moment which provoked a bust-up between the striker and Dean Moxey at half-time.

Crystal Palace players Marouane Chamakh and Dean Moxey had to be separated by team-mates after they were involved in a furious bust-up in the dressing-room at Southampton on Saturday.

The confrontation followed Palace’s 2-0 defeat – their sixth in seven games this season – that has left Ian Holloway’s side second from bottom in the Premier League and heaped more pressure on the beleaguered manager.

It is unclear what led to the incident but Holloway was unhappy with Chamakh after the former Arsenal striker was booked for diving in the first half at St Mary’s.

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