A game between two sides looking for that one win to secure survival but one we threw away – with a late Palace winner punishing us in a match we controlled.
On another day we’d have won that one, with the big chances falling to us, but failure to kill this Palace side off always gave them that opportunity to hurt us on the counter attack and they did exactly that curtesy of some reckless defending.
Why DeAndre Yedlin dives in on Zaha is beyond me. We not only had men over on the cover, but it’s just suicidal to go jumping in on a player like him who doesn’t need a second invitation to go down in the box.
Not only is it a defeat in a game where a draw could’ve felt a little frustrating, it’s another week where we fail to move significantly clear of the relegation zone, with the injury to Lejeune looking like another bad one. Benitez has confirmed that he heard a ‘click’ in his left knee – he did his right cruciate knee ligament in last summer – so that could be a huge blow.
It’s easy to focus on Yedlin’s mistake and be downbeat in defeat, but I thought Hayden and Almiron were very good today. The former was strong and successful in the tackle, winning so many of his midfield battles, while Almiron was bright from start to finish, being direct and inventive on the ball and showing brilliant work ethic and movement off it. How the Chronicle’s Lee Ryder gave Almiron a 5 – the same mark he gave Yedlin in his player ratings piece – is beyond me.
Here’s how the bottom half of the table looks after today’s result
Elsewhere Burnley leapfrogged us with a huge 3-1 win at Bournemouth, while Huddersfield’s woes continued as Leicester – our next opponents – ran out 4-1 winners.
We’re now down to the final five games of the season, with a tough trip to Leicester next Friday being followed by two potentially vital games against Southampton and Brighton:
- Leicester (A)
- Southampton (H)
- Brighton (A)
- Liverpool (H)
- Fulham (A)
A bitter blow today, losing a game we could’ve easily won and losing one of our top defenders in the process, but we move on.