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Crystal Palace: Joel Ward was poor against Leeds United

Crystal Palace slumped to their second consecutive defeat after Raphinha snatched all three points for Leeds United with an injury-time penalty in their Premier League clash at Elland Road.

The Eagles were looking to bounce back from their disappointing result against Aston Villa over the weekend and looked to be heading home with a point until referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot in the 91st minute.

Summer signing Marc Guehi was adjudged to have handled the ball following an in-swinging corner, with the decision confirmed after the Video Assistant Referee advised Friend to go to the pitch-side monitor.

The result perhaps wasn’t a fair reflection of the game, though, with Palace having the better opportunities to win the closely fought encounter.

Substitute Christian Benteke had two golden opportunities to put the visitors ahead after Wilfried Zaha clipped a delightful ball to the back post before the Belgium international headed wide, and Illan Meslier just about kept out his effort after connecting with a long ball upfield.

Was Ward Palace's worst player?

Yes, definitely!

Yes, definitely!

No way!

No way!

However, the capital club’s backline looked suspect throughout the 90 minutes, not just when Guehi gifted Leeds a golden opportunity to claim their fourth top-flight victory of the campaign.

Experienced right-back Joel Ward struggled to cope with the pace of Dan James following the break, with the former Manchester United youngster playing two key passes and creating one big chance.

As per SofaScore, the 32-year-old was awarded a match rating of just 6.5 out of 10, the second-lowest total received by any of his teammates who featured from the off on Tuesday night, letting Vieira down as a result.

And when looking at his underlying numbers, it’s easy to understand why. Ward achieved a measly passing accuracy of 61%, won just 50% of his duels and had only 39 touches, one fewer than goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

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Can you guess which Palace player scored the most goals in all competitions during the season in question? Let's start with 2009/10...

These figures highlight his underwhelming display, and Football.London reporter Mark Wyatt was equally disappointing with his sub-par showing.

“Solid outing in the first 45 minutes from Ward other than being booked, which means he’ll miss the next game against Manchester United. Less influential in the second period as Dan James got the beating of him on a couple of occasions,” wrote Wyatt after awarding him a lowly 5 out of 10.

With winnable fixtures against Everton, Southampton and Watford on the horizon for Palace, Vieira will be hoping one of his most experienced and reliable campaigners can get back to his best as soon as possible.

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