Obstructed View – Reflections on the Palace (A) Game

“Hear those drums, Carruthers? The natives are restless tonight”. Not a reflection on the natives of South East London of course, but a quote from the 1938 British Film, The Drum. In the film, the drumming, or lack of it, drives everyone up the wall (Spoiler alert). If I had to go to every home game and hear that tuneless and mindless drumming at Selhurst Park every week, it’d drive me mad too.

Whilst we’re on the subject, I admire Leicester City’s ascent to god-like status, but those paper clappers. Really? If they’re introduced at Goodison, then they’ll be inserted where the sun don’t shine.

Sea

But I’m not here to talk about supporters of other clubs, and in the ranks of “where the sun don’t shine”, supporters of Everton Football Club are hardly up there at the moment to rival either of Leicester or Palace. At least they’re getting behind their team, and at least our own away fans kept banner unfurling to a minimum (was there any?) and got behind their charges on the field, even if that benevolence didn’t quite stretch to the man in the brown shoes. In fairness, this was no mean effort given how much, or rather how little, there was to get excited about in front of them.

But rather than go on about what the future holds, and what manager we may or might not have any time soon or later, why not be a rebel and write about a game of football instead. After all, I’m in a rebellious mood – I ate my crisps after not before my sandwich today, an almost unpardonable sin in my book; I wore a sports sock clearly marked R on my left foot; and I even ate a bacon butty with a Liverpool supporter. Soz.

Anyway, on the pitch, a 0-0 against a side that has descended the table at an alarming rate (for them) is hardly something to get over-excited about, but it did have a few crumbs of comfort contained within, if you were prepared to look hard enough.And let’s face it, we might as well be positive and optimistic, we’ve got a Cup Semi Final in 9 days, and two more PL matches before then, one of which a potentially soul-sapping derby, win or lose.

In Joel Robles we had a largely unflappable ‘keeper (geddit?) who pulled off some great saves, and only failed to come and collect 2 crosses. Not bad, better than in the past.

In Seamus Coleman we had the best little Right Back we know, and he even managed to wind Cabaye up which automatically gets him a bonus point. Seamus has not been at his best this season, by common consent, but this was one of his better outings and but for a sharp save he could easily have scored when he magically appeared at the far post as if the long-forgotten subject of a Dynamo magic trick.

In Stones, we had a better Centre Back than he was at Watford, which in itself was a better Centre Back than he’d been for the second half of this season. He isn’t back to his imperious best, but now is a good time to start returning to that form.

In Aaron Lennon, we had the best mosquito on the pitch. He runs his little heart out the lad, not just going forward, but using his pace to cover back, and to nick the ball off unsuspecting oppos who clearly can’t hear his nimble delicate feet running up behind them. He looked a bit hacked off to be subbed, or maybe his facial expression was his resting-man-bitch-face or maybe his foot hurt. I’m thinking the latter after Jedinak trod on it. (By the way, for an Aussie, Jedinak is carrying off the Shoreditch Hipster look surprisingly well)

Erm, I’m scratching around a bit after that. One wasn’t too many miles off his best, which is a pity because his best isn’t good enough, and if his presence was designed to take the pressure off Rom and lighten his mood, that didn’t seem to work either.

Worryingly, and it really is a worry, Lukaku has the look of someone who’s scored 25 Career Goals since the age of 14, not 25 goals this season, and certainly not 60 Premier League goals whilst still only 22. I’ve cut Rom some slack before because his age, accepting that 22 year olds do occasionally have off days, but that an off month he’s just had, and we need him back firing on all cylinders pretty damn soon. Does he need a rest? Give Niasse a game up top against Southampton? Has his head been turned by talk of £65m bids required (in other words, we love you, but if someone gives us silly money, cheerio)? Or has he got mired by the malaise around the Club at the moment, manager or results-driven, or possibly both? Whatever it is, I want him back to his best – perhaps he’ll raise himself, or be raised by others, in time for the crucial games we’ve got coming up.

That’s it, hard to write a load about a tame 0-0, and no need to write what’s already been written by all sorts of lovely people, and some less so, about whatever the heck is going to happen managerial wise.

Toodle pip!

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