Crystal Palace arrested a confidence-shattering run of seven straight defeats by holding Everton to a point at Selhurst on Saturday, and will now look to build on their first draw of the season.
In some respects the Eagles should have won. Other than one long-distance effort in the first half and Phil Jagielka’s header hitting the bar, Julian Speroni was not kept very busy. But in the same breath, other than his first half save from Jerome Thomas, neither was Tim Howard.
Palace will feel that Thomas’ second half chip, and missed headers in the first half from Chamakh and KG could have been enough but overall a draw does need to be considered fair. The opponents will be pushing for the European places and are a very strong team, so to keep a clean sheet is very important.
The clean sheet provides much needed confidence for the defence. They have not experienced that in a competitive game since the play-off final and so getting that under their belts is much needed. Although it could be argued that as the last five minutes approached and the realisation set in that they could keep a clean sheet, it did seem to get a bit more jumpy and Everton had quite a bit of the ball in and around the box.
This is understandable considering the recent run and now that the Eagles have achieved this then can look to move forward.
There was still plenty of doom and gloom after Sunday’s results which saw Sunderland defeat Manchester City and move further clear of Palace. Whilst this is frustrating, there is nothing that can be done about it.
Palace cannot effect what other clubs in other games do, just what happens in their games. Therefore it is important to almost ignore what is going on around and keep the focus on this team. If they continue to pick up draws against bigger teams at home and then start getting wins against those around, then it won’t matter what other clubs are doing.
Much has been made of the next four games, and it will be interesting to see how the new manager utilises the squad. According to recent reports it could be any number of people, in fact as I’m writing one name seems to have been taken out of the hat. So you’re guess is as good as mine.
Daniel Smith - @dmsmith1987