Report - Swansea City 1-1 Crystal Palace
29th November 2014
Swansea City have now lost a total of 13 points from winning positions as Wilfried Bony`s early opener was cancelled out by Jedinak`s penalty 10 minutes later.
Garry Monk`s side looked in complete control for the opening 20 minutes or so thanks to their bright and dominant start. After attacking effectively down the flanks, the opener came through the middle as Bony received Sigurdsson`s pass, turned before angling a shot into the opposite corner from just inside the box.
Crystal Palace were handed a lifeline after 25 minutes when referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot as the Swans failed to clear their lines from a corner. Jonjo Shelvey, returning to the starting line-up after a recent 1-match ban, looked to clear the ball but Chamakh went down and the official didn`t hesitate to point to the spot.
Neil Warnock`s team had barely managed an effort on goal in the opening 45, while the hosts created enough to score 4 or 5, but the sides were level at the break.
It was no surprise to see that Warnock believed his side`s opening 15 minutes was the worst he`s seen them play all season. The Swans were carving them open at will, and it was soon becoming a matter of when, not if, they`d score.
The hosts could have been in front after just four minutes following strong appeals for a penalty. Bony passed the ball for Taylor to run on to down the left, Ward brought him down, making no contact with the ball but Atkinson unsurprisingly gave nothing.
Moments later, Gylfi Sigurdsson had a chance to open the scoring when Chamakh fouled Ki to concede a free kick from about 25 yards from goal. The Palace striker threw the ball to the ground in frustration, but again, the referee took no action when he should have been shown a yellow card.
Sigurdsson`s effort from the resulting free-kick went over the wall and dipped, but not quite enough as it struck the roof of the net.
Jefferson Montero was constantly looking a threat down Swansea`s left and he did well to create a chance for Bony - his effort was well wide of the target, but he didn`t waste his next opportunity. Sigurdsson made his impressive 8th assist of the season after just 13 games, passing into the feet of the striker, who turned to fire a low shot across and into the left corner of the goal.
Crystal Palace`s only chance to even get into their opposition`s half came via the counter attack when the Swans lost possession, but the defence were strong enough to soon regain control.
However, a counter for the visitors down the left saw them win a corner - it wasn`t cleared properly, and Shelvey tries to clear the danger but connects with Chamakh who goes down in the penalty box. It looked dubious, as if the Palace striker made the most of it, but the referee didn`t wait before pointing to the spot. You really have to wonder how the early foul on Taylor wasn`t given and that one was.
Anyway, Jedinak converted that the equaliser helped to get the visitors far more involved in the game. The goal interrupted Swansea`s rhythm, and for a short spell, they were on the back foot slightly.
Chamakh then had the best chance of the game to almost put Palace into a shock lead, but goalkeeper Fabianski did superbly to come out from his goal quickly to block his effort.
The Swans recovered in the final 10 minutes of the half and really should have taken the lead again after creating another 3 or 4 chances.
Sigurdsson created a one on one opportunity for Routledge, feeding the ball through for the winger, but his shot with his weaker left foot was blocked away by Speroni.
Before the break though, Chamakh received a deserved yellow card for a cynical foul on Neil Taylor, but he really should have been off the field when he deserved an earlier booking for throwing the ball to the ground.
Shelvey then had two chances to redeem himself after conceding the penalty but he wastes both of them. Sigurdsson provided both of them, the first saw him sidefoot a shot just wide from close range, before another opportunity created by the Icelandic also failed to hit the target.
Despite missing a host of chances in the first half, it was important for the Swans that they ended the half well after a quiet and uneasy spell after Palace`s equaliser.
However, it didn`t prove to be very beneficial though as the Swans were left frustrated as they couldn`t get through a resolute and defensive Crystal Palace after the break.
Their play was all too pedestrian and slow against Palace, who pretty much had 9 or 10 players behind the ball for the majority of second period.
They were far more solid in the centre and wide areas. They pressed admirably throughout, giving the central midfielders very little time on the ball, and it was similar for the wingers. Routledge was effective down the right in the first half, but he wasn`t a threat once the visitors got to grips with Swansea`s setup.
Barrow later came on for the winger, who had returned from a groin injury to take Dyer`s place out wide on the right. Barrow almost re-enacted his solo run against Arsenal, but he was hauled down as he looked to go all the way towards the goal. McArthur was lucky that he wasn`t the last man as otherwise he`d have definitely been given his marrching orders.
The second half was quite a tightly-fought encounter. The Swans dominated with little to show for it in terms of clear chances, while Palace again mostly relied on utilising their pace on the counter, but for the majority of the time, the defenders did well to deal with that threat.
Bartley in particular was impressive, whether it was defending, or moving forward with the ball into the opposition`s half and getting it into good positions. He had pace to cope with the likes of Bolasie and Zaha when he came on, the strength to deal with their central midfielders and the height to win far more than he lost in the air.
The Swans had a late scare when Palace countered and almost got in on goal down the right, but Zaha couldn`t make the most of it as the home defence recovered well.
Sigurdsson had an earlier chance to win it but his shot blazed over the crossbar as both sides had to settle for a point each. The visitors will of course be far more pleased with that the Swans, who will be disappointed that they couldn`t get more goals on the scoreboard early on during an impressive early 20-minute spell.