Crystal Palace struggled to break down Brighton & Hove Albion in a dull draw in the A23 Derby at Selhurst Park on Sunday. Roy Hodgson’s side started strongly after Wilfried Zaha converted from the penalty box, but this turned out to be the home side’s only shot on target in the whole game.
The Eagles will have wanted to get back to winning ways, having lost 4-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge before the international break, but they barely offered anything in attack, which will give Hodgson some cause for concern.
If you can’t beat them, join them – Michy Batshuayi made the most of a challenge from Brighton defender Tariq Lamptey, and Palace were awarded a penalty as a result, despite the fact that the replays showed there was hardly any contact at all.
It’s safe to say that Batshuayi is desperate to deliver this season, that’s for sure, as Hodgson has backed the returning Chelsea loanee to succeed at Selhurst Park but the 31-cap Belgium international barely touched the ball at all against Brighton, which is a part of the problem.
In fact, the 27-year-old only touched the ball 19 times in total, although he still lost possession 10 times, which suggests that his first touch isn’t all that great – hardly something that you would want in a striker, whilst he averaged just 50% of his passes, won two out of eight ground duels, and didn’t win a single aerial duel, via SofaScore. Shockingly, he failed to register a single shot all game, never mind a shot on target!
SofaScore graded him at 6.6, which is perhaps a little optimistic, all things considering. Similarly, Sky Sports gave him a rating of 6/10, although football.london offered a fairer assessment, claiming he made “a great run and finish early in the second half unfortunately ruled out for offside” which was a “big spark in an otherwise quiet appearance.”
Zaha cut a frustrated figure in the first half, which is perhaps hardly surprising as he was largely starved of any service, while Palace looked less than threatening in attack and had to rely on a set-piece once again to open the scoring.
The Eagles are now in 12th place in the Premier League on seven points as a result and only six points away from the relegation zone. Batshuayi will need to start finding the back of the net not before too long – and not from an offside position!
AND in other news, Crystal Palace may live to regret missing out on Watford winger Ismaila Sarr…