Solanke deal falls through but Crystal Palace must continue search for new striker

Steve Parish did not want to give too much away, but he did in effect confirm that the deal was close.

“These things are never straightforward but we’re really trying to get someone in early,” the Crystal Palace chairman told beIN SPORTS in a pitchside interview ahead of the 1-0 defeat by Chelsea on December 30. “For once, the papers are probably not miles off what we’re looking at.”

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How will Liverpool react to losing in the Premier League?


For the first time this season it finally happened, Liverpool after 21 games lost a game in the Premier League.

It was a fantastic run which saw some fantastic results including only a week ago demolishing Arsenal 5-1. But the run came to an end when the Reds visited the Etihad the home of current champions Manchester City and lost 2-1 in a quite frenetic game of football.

Liverpool still have the advantage in the league and lead by 4 points as they try to win England’s top domestic competition for the first time since 1990. But now that they have lost how will Liverpool react? History has told us it is how you finally react to a loss that defines you as a champion. In the league we will have to wait another week given that cup matches take over England this weekend.

One wonders if that is a hindrance or actually a good thing for Liverpool. On one hand it’s frustrating as the team want to play their next league game, win it, and prove that the City loss was just a tiny blip. On the other hand if they can get a good FA Cup win then that could restore some confidence going into the next league match. So that remains interesting to see.

Liverpool will play Wolves and the game is away from home which could be a tricky 90 minutes for the club. The fact that they have been paired with a Premier League team at this stage of the cup is not to their advantage. But of course they will still be favourites to win. But if they did lose then a serious question will be asked, ‘are Liverpool losing their bottle?’ It has happened before and manager Jurgen Klopp will have to field a strong side and get the victory over Wolves- that match does not take place until Monday.

In the league Liverpool’s next games are against the likes of Brighton, Crystal Palace and Leicester and the last two games are at home. These are all winnable games for the club, but at the same time, you never quite know in regards to the Premier League.

It seems that February will be a big month for Liverpool where towards the end of it they will have to play Bayern Munich in the Champions League and then follow that up with an away match against Manchester United who have been in terrific form, and the Merseyside derby follows just a week after that.

There is all to play for and of course Manchester City and Tottenham will have to keep winning too, but Liverpool are under real pressure again to produce the goods when it matters. That is how hard it is to win the Premier League nowadays.



Palace frustrated as Cardiff dig in to pick up vital Boxing Day point

After becoming the first Premier League team to beat Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium since  , Crystal Palace would have been expected to make relatively light work of Cardiff City on Boxing Day. Things did not quite go to plan for Roy Hodgson’s men, however, as a flurry of missed chances saw them held to a 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park.

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Crystal Palace continue to drift as West Ham extend winning run

West Ham United won their third Premier League game in a week on Saturday afternoon, coming from a goal down to beat Crystal Palace 3-2 at the London Stadium. It is a result which takes Manuel Pellegrini’s men into the top half of the table for the first time this season, while Palace are now looking nervously over their shoulder having slipped to 16th spot in the standings.

Following Tuesday’s dire display in a 3-1 loss to arch-rivals Brighton and Hove Albion, Roy Hodgson would have been looking for a reaction here. The Eagles could not have wished for a better start, as James McArthur raced onto James Tomkins’ flick-on from a free-kick to prod the ball past Lukasz Fabianski and into the West Ham net. Both teams had chances before half-time, but Palace held on to their one-goal advantage and went into the interval in a winning position – the first time they have done so away from home since the 1-0 triumph over Huddersfield Town in the middle of September.

Hodgson presumably instructed his team to keep things tight at the back and look for openings on the counter-attack, but – not for the first time this week – Palace completely collapsed and shipped three goals in a 20-minute period. First, Robert Snodgrass converted with a fine left-footed shot from just outside the penalty area, before Javier Hernandez capitalised on a Wayne Hennessey mistake to turn the loose ball home after Felipe Anderson’s free-kick was saved. Anderson himself stepped up to score the hosts’ third of the afternoon, brilliantly bending his strike into the far post after being afforded too much time by the Palace rearguard.

Jeffrey Schlupp may have given the visitors a semblance of hope when he headed home a Max Meyer cross in the 76th minute, but the damage had already been done by that stage of proceedings. Palace pushed for an equaliser without ever really coming close to finding out, forcing the under-fire Hodgson to contemplate a 10th defeat of the campaign. Fulham are the only side who have lost more Premier League games this term, and relegation suddenly looks like a very real possibility for a club who should be doing much better.

Hodgson will inevitably come under increasing pressure should Palace fail to beat Leicester City next Saturday, and some of the frustration with the veteran boss is understandable. Hodgson is often too slow to make in-game changes when plan A is not bearing fruit, a charge which was also levelled at him during Palace’s successful end to the 2017/18 campaign. Some have also taken issue with his tendency towards caution, which has at times seen the south Londoners punished after failing to increase their lead.

Manuel Pellegrini

At the same time, though, it is possible to have a great deal of sympathy with the former England boss. Those who called for Hodgson to make wholesale changes after the Brighton debacle clearly did not appreciate how little the Palace manager has to work with outside of his starting XI; Jason Puncheon, Alexander Sorloth and Jordan Ayew are the go-to attacking options on the bench at present, but no member of that trio is Premier League quality. Fielding Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend up front in a 4-4-2 formation certainly is not ideal, but Hodgson clearly feels he has no other option given the paucity of quality in reserve.

Palace are now in their sixth consecutive season in the Premier League, which makes the lack of strength in depth difficult to defend. A substantial wage bill prevented the Eagles from splashing the cash in the summer, even as Yohan Cabaye – previously one of the club’s highest earners – departed for Al-Nasr in the United Arab Emirates. A failure to implement a long-term recruitment strategy in recent years has come back to haunt Palace; new signings have usually had very little resale value, meaning there was always likely to come a point when the wage bill needed to be trimmed. Since winning promotion from the Championship in 2013, Palace’s decision-making has been too reactive, with managers largely appointed because of their fire-fighting abilities and players acquired with a short-term focus.

Hodgson is certainly not blameless as far as the Eagles’ recent results are concerned, but the malaise runs far deeper than the man in the dugout. At present Palace feel like a club lacking in direction and leadership, and if they are not careful it could result in relegation back to the second tier at the end of the campaign.

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Dismal display sees Crystal Palace fall to defeat against arch-rivals Brighton

Ask any Crystal Palace supporter what their favourite game of this decade has been and there is a good chance they will refer you to the 2-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion in May 2013. That underdog triumph came in the second leg of the Championship play-off semi-finals, as Wilfried Zaha’s brace sent Palace to Wembley and their arch-rivals out.

Palace have visited the Amex Stadium twice since then, drawing 0-0 in the Premier League this time last year and losing 2-1 in the third round of the 2017/18 FA Cup. That defeat was a disappointment, of course, but both sides made changes to their starting XIs and the narrow margin of victory meant the evening did not go down as an embarrassment. The same, however, cannot be said for Tuesday night’s encounter on the south coast.

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Crystal Palace face pivotal period after Manchester United clash

It has been a nightmare run of fixtures for Crystal Palace, but the light at the end of the tunnel is coming into view. Having locked horns with London trio Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in their last three games, Roy Hodgson’s side now face the daunting task of a trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United this weekend. After that, though, the schedule – on paper at least – looks a great deal kinder, and Palace must take advantage if they are to avoid another relegation scrap this season.

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EPL Best XI – Ross Barkley leads the way

Ross Barkley Chelsea

The 10th weekend of the 2018-19 Premier League season saw Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea maintain their unbeaten starts, while Arsenal’s winning streak ended with a 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace. Let’s take a look at the top EPL Fantasy points scorers from the weekend’s games…

GK: Ben Foster, Watford – seven points
Ben Foster gets the nod in goal after helping Watford to a 3-0 win against Huddersfield on Saturday. He has kept two clean sheets in a row, earning an impressive 14 points in the process.

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Everton defeat leaves Palace contemplating another season of struggle

Crystal Palace supporters are getting used to this feeling. Roy Hodgson’s side again suffered defeat in a game which they were in for long periods on Sunday afternoon, as late goals from substitutes Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun gave Everton a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park.

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The curious case of Jonny Williams and Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha was the young talent on everyone’s lips during Crystal Palace’s promotion-winning campaign of 2012/13. The homegrown winger scored eight goals and provided 11 assists in the Championship as the Eagles won the play-offs under Ian Holloway and secured a return to the top flight for the first time since 2005. Zaha’s form in the first half of the season was so good that Alex Ferguson made him his final signing as Manchester United manager in the January transfer window, with the then-England Under-21 international immediately loaned back to Palace for the remainder of the campaign.

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Ponderous Hodgson’s in-game management costing Crystal Palace

Had you taken a trip to Selhurst Park in the final few weeks of the 2017/18 campaign, you would have been hard-pressed to find a Crystal Palace fan with anything negative to say about Roy Hodgson.

The former England manager took the reins at his boyhood club early in the season, but Palace were still in a perilous position; not only had their first four games yielded a grand total of zero points and zero goals, but the club was also embroiled in an identity crisis following the short-lived Frank de Boer experiment. The Dutchman had been appointed with a remit of evolving the team’s style of play, but that ambition was hastily abandoned after 360 minutes of winless football in the Premier League.

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