Crystal Palace 0 – 1 Sunderland

Soccor Play

Review by Joshua Roux de Buisson

On a cold evening at SE25 Palace were facing a Sunderland side who had only won once in their last 15 Premier League games. The odds appeared to be stacked in Palace’s favour. Fifteen days had passed since the Eagles’ heroic victory at Anfield, and it was vital that Palace picked up all three points.

The game started in a relatively low key manner, with some sloppy passing and possession being given away all too easily, by both sides. This was a theme throughout the game and neither team was able to gain a stranglehold, or any sense of continuity.

In what was a relatively poor first half, it was clear to see that Sunderland were looking to take any tempo out of the game, to the frustration of Palace. Sunderland’s ‘keeper Costel Pantilimon was slowing down every goal kick to ensure that there was no fluidity, and was given a final warning to speed up, otherwise it would result in a yellow card. With the first half drawing to a close, and both teams trying to find the opener, it was critical that Palace didn’t concede just before half time: and they didn’t!

Palace made a change at the start of the second half, in an attempt to mix things up and create different problems for the stern Sunderland defence. Bakary Sako was brought on in the place of Jason Puncheon, who had struggled in the first half to create any clear cut chances. It was Sunderland who had the first chances of the second half, with their defender Coates heading the ball from a corner, with Cabaye strategically positioned to clear the ball away. And then it was Cabaye himself who had a shot at the Sunderland goal that was pushed away by the Sunderland ‘keeper.

Soccor Game

It was Sunderland, however, who took the lead with 10 minutes remaining. Jermaine Defoe managed to capitalise on a mix up between defender Dann and ‘keeper Hennessy to roll the ball into an empty net, after Dann had tried to shield the ball, but Hennessy hadn’t advanced forward enough. Would this prove to be a costly mistake in terms of the match?

It did prove to be an extremely costly mistake, as Palace’s final endeavours towards the Sunderland goal never materialised. Cabaye had another shot at the opponent’s goal, and a series of corners, but it was Sunderland who left South London with an unexpected three points, leaving Palace sat 10th in the Premier League table. It was a hugely disappointing evening for a Palace side who had shown so much promise just fifteen days earlier at Anfield. Pardew, in his post match interview, summed up by saying, ‘We should have been a bit more clean and clinical in the final third, and we would have created more chances’.

Teams often learn more in defeat, so Palace’s attention turns to Newcastle on Saturday, in front of a sell-out Selhurst Park.

As official sponsor of AFC Bournemouth and Crystal Palace FC, Mansion will be offering unique insights into the team’s games each week, through collaboration with a selection of passionate fan reviewers.

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