All of the Time: Chamakh in Black
I’ve not seen a better endorsement of Damien Delaney and Julian Speroni’s ability to deal with crosses than the appalling fact neither Dean Moxey or Danny Gabbidon won a single aerial challenge during Saturday’s game, despite Stoke (who obviously haven’t undergone a style revolution) putting in cross after cross after cross aimed at Peter Crouch.
Yes their big man won a couple, and should have scored at one point, but he’s nine feet tall so you have to regard some victories in the air for Stoke as granted.
Moxey’s positioning is sometimes awful and he’s bad in the air, but competent last-ditch slides and enthusiasm going forward mean his strengths outweigh his deficiencies when it comes to highlights reels.
Against the likes of Theo Walcott or Jesus Navas, Moxey will be worryingly exposed.
And don’t get me started on Gabbidon. Every time I think I’ve judged him harshly, he likes to remind me I was probably right all along either by failing to win a header, almost getting caught on the ball, playing a substandard back pass or just looking slow.
However, all this doom and gloom ignores the positives that again filled our performance on Saturday. And there were even more than after the Tottenham game.
I haven’t seen Palace play as well as that first half in a long time. Campana, Puncheon and Chamakh adding necessary class and skill to our side, improving our options and creativity.
Chamakh’s goal was a thing of moderate beauty (as it’s always beautiful to see Ryan Shawcross humiliated and outmuscled).
However, the new boys gradually slumped and tired, and when they tired Stoke took advantage.
Why not pick Johnny Williams to start and use Dwight Gayle to increase vigour as a substitute? Both of the Welshman’s sub appearances this year have injected Palace with excitement, energy and trickery, so surely he doesn’t have to keep doing that before he’s allowed the opportunity to shine for longer than 20 minutes?
Even if out wide isn’t his natural position, with our list of winger’s injuries at the moment it would be worth a shot, whereas Gayle looks like he’ll only work best centrally.
Tonight against Bristol City, Palace will probably field a skeleton side of youth players and outsiders. Regardless, we could really do with a morale-boosting victory to lift the club a bit in time for Saturday’s infinitely more important clash against Sunderland.
After Hull and Cardiff both grabbed three points at the weekend it’s important we don’t get left behind.
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