We qualified for Europe by drawing with Palace (1-1) in an awful game.
I hope I won’t be saying this many times in my lifetime, but thanks Chelsea for beating Wolves. We are in now in the Europa League competition next season. I shall go and wash my mouth out.
The day started off with no drinks, even when I sat down to watch the game on NowTV. I was optimistic, so I predicted a 3 or 4 goal win and no goals from Palace. In the end, I ended up running down to the kitchen and opening a bottle of Malbec, in the hope that what I was watching would improve (and dampen my anxiety). But in the end, the draw did it for us.
I won’t tell you about the food concoction I had with my wine, as I don’t want to be responsible for you sticking your head down the toilet to vomit up whatever you’ve just digested… but saying that, what we witnessed on Sunday, against Palace, was enough for you to do just that.
Jose Mourinho says he intends to get us back "where we belong" after we qualified for the Europa League after a shitty game against Palace. Well, we belong where Bill Nicholson put us with his great teams. Anything less would not be putting us back “where we belong”. And if he is going to do that he will need to buy reliable and wise players, with a few old deadwood being rejected from the squad. I do believe we have a nucleus of a great team, but Daniel Levy needs to splash the cash, but wisely.
Anyway, the result saw us leapfrog into sixth place above Wolves, who lost by two goals to nil to Chelsea.
"When all the players are available, we showed in this last period where we belong," Mourinho said. He then went on and added, "I don't know, maybe in this period, after lockdown, we finished third or fourth in the table. So that's where we belong. I want to have my team, my players, not a medical room full of players. I want a pitch full of players.”
He then ended with, "Are we going to buy 10 players? No. Are we going to buy players for £100m? No. We are going to improve." Yes, improve enough to get us where we belong and winning trophies.
Harry Kane opened the scoring for us by shooting a low finish into the bottom left hand corner after
To be fair, their goal was no more than Roy Hodgson's side deserved, as they ended a run of seven straight defeats. We were that poor. Palace matched us for effort and could have snatched all three points, with Scott Dann heading a late effort wide.
Before the COVID-19 consumed the world, we were heading for humiliation and ending up close to the foot of the table. I couldn’t see us beating United, West Ham or any of the other teams. We had four players out… we were doomed. Then all matches were cancelled, and our injured players got back to fitness and Bob’s your uncle and aunt Fancy was just that, a fanny. We were back in it!
When Mourinho took over from Pochettino, we were struggling in 14th place in the table.
Since coming to the club, Mourinho has supervised an upturn in results and the number of goals the team have scored. Nevertheless, he is yet to find a solution to our problems in defence.
Eric Dier put in a skilful performance alongside Toby Alderweireld on his return from suspension, but Palace's equaliser is likely to have infuriated Mourinho and his coaching staff. Our defenders stood around – or flopped around - like spare pricks in a brothel as Dann headed a deep corner back across goal, with Schlupp converting after Ayew had averted the ball into his path. Until then, we had looked capable of increasing our lead through the pace and power of Son and Lucas Moura, on the break.
Man of the match - Lucas Moura
It appeared to be a case of mission achieved for Mourinho and his staff at the final whistle. They jumped with joy (lovely woman), hugged and hand slapping was all around as they (and we at home) celebrated to the prospect of playing Thursday night in the Europa League (even though we wanted Champions league, it was better than a kick in the testicles). Our draw and a place in the Europa league means we are guaranteed to earn a minimum of around £10m for our participation in the European competition next season. And if we win the said competition, then a lot more lolly will be coming Levy’s way, plus a Trophy. And that also means guaranteed Champions League football the following season, but let us not get carried away, one drink at a time!
At the start of this season, and coming into that season on the back of the Champions League final, could we have imagined such a problematic campaign; or even that Mourinho would take charge less than six months on from that Final?. Yes… well, sort of. Our problems started, in the League, long before we got to that Final.
So, we achieved – at least since Mourinho took over – another year in Europe, albeit in the Europa League.
When Mourinho came to the club, and our first game was against the Hammers, he hit the road running with a win, even though the Clarets hit back and came close to a draw. After that, it was hit and miss, with more misses and then the injuries. As I said, if it wasn’t for the Virus stopping the world in its tracks, we would have had a disaster of a season. Once back and after a shaky start, we started to improve and improved enough to finish the season in 6th (from 14th) and another year in Europe. For that, we must put a plaque up to the Virus’ contributing to our turnaround.
Now all eyes are on next season. Of course, with all clubs being hit financially because of the cancellations it isn’t going to be easy. But the fact of the matter is, if Daniel Levy wants money, he needs to speculate to accumulate, or we could end up being out of Europe for a long time to come. Being tight in the transfer window could end up losing us even more money. The good news is we don’t need to spend millions, just buy wisely and adding to an already good – but lacking in places – squad.
Crystal Palace are unbeaten in their past five final-day Premier League games played at home (W4 D1).
As for us, we registered just eight clean sheets in our 38 Premier League games in 2019-20, our lowest tally of shutouts in the competition since 2010-11 (also eight).
Crystal Palace have become just the eighth team to go through an entire Premier League season without scoring more than twice in a match and are the first side to do so without being relegated.
We have finished the Premier League campaign in the top six for the 11th consecutive season, after managing to do so just twice in our previous 17 seasons in the competition.
Only Andy Cole (nine), Les Ferdinand (nine) and Matt Le Tissier (eight) have scored more Premier League goals on the final day than Harry Kane (seven in six final-day games).
Giovani lo Celso's two Premier League assists for us have come in his past three appearances in the competition (28 games in total).
Harry Kane netted his 31st goal in Premier League London derbies, with only three players managing more (Thierry Henry got 43, Teddy Sheringham and Frank Lampard each got 32).
Crystal Palace midfielder Jeffrey Schlupp has netted three goals in his past six Premier League appearances, as many as he managed in his previous 40 in the competition.
So, there you have it. Football back on the 12th of September, however, whether the supporters will be with them is a moot point. It also beggars the question, will we be allowed to even go to away games? And what about travelling in Europe?
Up until the lockdown I hadn’t missed a home game for over 40 years and an away game for over 30 (in that time I did miss one or two European away games).
I am getting on now, ready for the knackers yard and even though I had seen Spurs win the double (my dad took me at the age of five) those memories are foggy. I would like to see us win the Premier League and a European trophy before I am put in my coffin. Hopefully one day! That is seeing us win the League, not me being placed in the casket, even though that is inevitable. But not just yet, eh!
Best regard, Glenn