Crystal Palace opened their premier league campaign in terrible fashion today as they were destroyed by Huddersfield (who were playing their first game in the top flight since 1972). Palace announced a strong team with the only surprise being the absence of Andros Townsend in the starting eleven. Youngster, Lokilo was named on the bench after impressing during pre-season but didn’t come on to make his premier league debut.
Shocking Palace humiliated by newcomers Huddersfield Town
The day was filled with optimism for Palace fans as the new ‘fan zone’ opened outside the stadium. Ending pre-season with a decent draw against Schalke, things looked to be good for the Eagles. The game started off slowly with Palace winning a few free kicks and generally looking to have the upper hand. In the 23rd minute, Huddersfield won a corner and managed to score a goal following some mayhem in the box which ended up counting as a Joel Ward own goal.
A couple of minutes later, Huddersfield netted another with Steve Mounié latching onto a free header which no Palace defender thought to get on the end of. At this point in the game it was clear to see that Frank De Boer’s experiment was not working out. The back three did not look at all comfortable with the short passing style that was clearly put in place by De Boer. Wayne Hennessy seemed to be getting a lot of the blame for this too since he was playing a lot of short passes from goal kicks. Hennessy shouldn’t blamed here though as it was mainly down to the style that De Boer inflicted that things were not going to plan.
It got to half time and the fans were understandably not happy as they called for changes. They got what they wanted as Townsend came on for Luka Milivojevic who had somewhat of an injury scare in the first half. Instantly, Townsend looked to give Palace an injection of energy with Loftus Cheek stepping up his game too. Loftus-Cheek made a superb challenge in the Palace half and then proceeded to play a terrific ball up the field after. Unfortunately, the improvement didn’t last long as Huddersfield found their third of the game from a sweet strike from Mounié to get his brace.
There are a lot of debatable points that Palace are left with after this result. Joel Ward is prominent in those. Many believe that Andros Townsend should have started over Joel Ward with Ward simply not being quick enough to operate as a wing back. It would make logistical sense for Ward to now be converted into a centre back at this stage in his career and with the formation that Frank De Boer has brought in.
Although there were some decent chances for Palace such as Scott Dann’s second half header that forced the Huddersfield keeper into an amazing save and Zaha’s one on one chance that he narrowly put wide, it’s clear that there needs to be some creative improvement too. A lot of the game was spent wasting time with short irrelevant passes that actually led to mistakes quite often. The players need to be given more freedom to play their natural game and to be able to use their traits which make them so good. For example, Zaha’s runs and long balls from the defenders.
With Palace travelling to Liverpool next week, there isn’t a huge sense of optimism for the South London club. Although the fantastic support from the fans was still present with no visible anger towards the players or De Boer from most of the stadium (the ones who stayed to finish the game that is). Regardless, it was a great day for Huddersfield with a fantastic win on their behalf and the supporters showed their appreciation with their loud and proud support throughout the whole game.