By 90Min
December 26, 2018

Crystal Palace failed to build on their win over Manchester City as Cardiff held them to a frustrating goalless draw at Selhurst Park.

Palace made a fast start and could have taken the lead within the opening couple of minutes, but Andros Townsend struck the woodwork from close range after good work by Wilfried Zaha.

The Eagles continued to dictate the tempo of the match for most of the first half but couldn't test Neil Etheridge. Luka Milivojevic sent a tame effort into the Filipino's hands and Townsend skied another effort over the crossbar.

Cardiff's best chance came from a pinpoint Kadeem Harris cross, but it arrived on the head of Bobby Reid too quickly and he couldn't adjust his body to divert the ball goalwards.

The second half continued in the same vein with Palace still on top but unable to make the breakthrough, with Cheikhou Kouyate blazing a big chance over the crossbar. Substitute Connor Wickham also fired just wide of the mark with a shot on the swivel.

Milivojevic struck the woodwork with a well-hit free kick, before Cardiff could have stolen the three points when the ball fell fortuitously to the aforementioned Harris, but Vicente Guaita came up trumps with a big save.

Palace continued pushing until the end, but a terrific tackle from Bruno Ecuele Manga on Zaha typified Cardiff's fighting spirit and ensured it would end all square.


CRYSTAL PALACE


Key Talking Points

There was always the risk of this being an 'after the Lord Mayor's Show' affair for Crystal Palace after their incredible victory over Manchester City at the weekend, and so it proved as they could find no way through against one of the Premier League's worst defences.

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This was particularly true for Andros Townsend, who scored the goal of the season so far with a 30-yard volley against City but could only hit the crossbar from close range in the opening exchanges here. It set the tone for an afternoon of bad misses and near-misses.

After temporary respite, the pressure is back on Roy Hodgson. Palace's next four games are all against teams in the top half of the league, including Chelsea on Sunday, so the Eagles could soon find themselves in danger if they continue producing wasteful performances like this.


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Guaita (7), Wan-Bissaka (6), Tomkins (6), Sakho (6), van Aanholt (7), McArthur (6), Kouyate (6), Milivojevic (7), Meyer (6), Townsend (5), Zaha (7)


Substitutes: Wickham (6)


STAR MAN - Wilfried Zaha


As usual, Zaha was Palace's main attacking threat. He set up the early chance for Townsend which hit the bar, and in the second half he played a lovely through-ball for Max Meyer, from which the German shanked wide of the mark. He also had a few chances of his own but couldn't find a way through.

Christopher Lee/GettyImages

WORST PLAYER - Andros Townsend


"Who does he think he is, shooting from that distance?" remarked the commentator at one point, apparently without irony. Townsend did score a howitzer against Manchester City but this performance epitomised the inconsistency which has plagued him throughout his career.


CARDIFF CITY


Key Talking Points

A first away point since August for Cardiff, who offered little attacking threat of their own but did a good job of nullifying Crystal Palace's attacking outlets. Cardiff's survival could depend on their defence, so Neil Warnock will hope this clean sheet can be a platform for greater solidity in the New Year.

We are now at the midway point of the season and Cardiff are three points outside the relegation zone. Many people thought that the Bluebirds would be rock bottom by now but they have surprised everyone with some of their results at home.

Warnock will not have much money to spend in January, but a striker must be his top priority. It speaks volumes that Callum Paterson - who isn't a natural forward - is Cardiff's top scorer this season with just four Premier League goals.


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Etheridge (7), Peltier (6), Morrison (7), Ecuele Manga (7), Bennett (6), Bamba (6), Harris (6), Camarasa (6), Ralls (6), Hoilett (5), Reid (5)


Substitutes: Gunnarsson (N/A), Arter (N/A)


STAR MAN - Bruno Ecuele Manga


Cardiff rode their luck at times, but some of their defending was brilliant, and the standout moment was Ecuele Manga's heroic challenge to deny Zaha as he raced clear on goal in the closing stages.

WORST PLAYER - Junior Hoilett


Hoilett is capable of moments of magic, as he showed against Wolves last month, but he had no self-control here. He was very lucky not to score an own goal and even luckier not to be sent off as he ploughed into a reckless challenge when already on a yellow card.


Looking Ahead

Cardiff are back in Premier League action on Saturday as they travel to Leicester. Crystal Palace, meanwhile, are in action the following day in a difficult home match against Chelsea.

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