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Crystal Palace: Jean-Philippe Mateta struggles in FA Cup semi-final defeat

Crystal Palace saw their run in this season’s FA Cup come to an end at Wembley this evening as the Eagles were beaten 2-0 by Chelsea in the semi-final stage.

Palace midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate had the best chance of the first half before goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount took the game away from Patrick Vieira’s men.

In a game with few chances, particularly in the first period, the South London outfit failed to show prowess in the final third, with striker Jean-Philippe Mateta struggling to lead the line.

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According to SofaScore, the striker made just 21 touches in his 55-minute spell, losing the ball on 12 occasions at an average rate of once every 1.8 touches.

The striker also failed to get a single shot away whilst completing just five passes all match and attempting zero dribbles.

In terms of physicality upfront, the 6 foot 3 Frenchman won just 35.7% of his duels, although the 24-year-old did attempt 14 in total.

There was also little defensive contribution from Mateta who managed just one tackle whilst offering zero clearances, blocks or interceptions.

Prior to the Wembley showdown, the Frenchman had been in decent form, scoring four goals in his last eight appearances across both league and cup.

The campaign has certainly beared fruit in the second half for the 24-year-old after a slow start to the season which saw Vieira hand the forward just two appearances in the Eagles’ first 17 matches in the Premier League.

However, having made his loan from Bundesliga outfit FC Mainz permanent in January, Mateta has scored six goals and registered one assist since Christmas and seems to have now worked his way up the pecking order to become the Palace boss’ first-choice centre-forward.

Granted, the Eagles aren’t particularly blessed with striker options with Christian Benteke, Odsonne Edouard and Jordan Ayew collectively scoring just one league goal since the end of January.

Is Mateta Palace's best striker?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Now, the South London outfit has seven Premier League matches left with a top-half finish very much a realistic target with just three points separating them and tenth-placed Brighton, who have also played a game more.

Therefore, Palace supporters will be desperate to see a strong end to the season from Mateta as opposed to the timid display put on at Wembley.

AND in other news: Vieira could form a deadly duo as Palace plot bid for “unbelievable” 148-goal machine

Article title: Crystal Palace: Jean-Philippe Mateta struggles in FA Cup semi-final defeat

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