Woosie's Words: Crystal Palace need width to use Jimmy Kebe and Jerome Thomas
Having watched Palace fall to a 2-0 defeat at home to Swansea, it became evident that there was something desperately missing from the Eagles’ side. That something is width.
Ian Holloway may have brought in a number of players over the summer, including wingers Jerome Thomas and Jason Puncheon, but the group of players who were on the pitch on Sunday were simply no more than strangers, or at least, that is how it looked.
The tinkering of a settled side which had performed fairly well thus far in the campaign was to be Palace’s downfall, with an abject performance lacking in passion, energy and commitment. However, it has become clear that one major issue is the shortfall of options in the final third, which is perpetuated by a tactic to play without wingers.
Palace’s inability to find a teammate to offload the ball was caused by the tactic of playing with two wide men who cut inside on a consistent basis, refusing to run with the ball and attack full backs. The area in which Palace succeeded the most last season was incidentally on the flanks, with Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie terrorising defenders with skill and pace.
Yet this season Holloway has instructed his wide men to tuck inside and attack through the middle, supposedly creating space for the full backs to bomb on, but it is only a theory, not something which is put into practice, and certainly not when the right-back has little in the way of attacking threat.
Jason Puncheon may be more of a wide forward than a winger, but his performance devoid of effort was symbolic of the way the match played out on Sunday. His failure to attack Swansea’s back line with any venom was not a result of a lack of talent, but the tactics Ian Holloway employing having failed.
The decision to play Cameron Jerome on the left wing was truly baffling. Some might argue it was not the left wing, but if not then did he truly have a position? A distinct lack of influence on the match effectively left Palace with 10 men.
The likes of Jimmy Kebe and even Jerome Thomas will not benefit from Holloway’s bizarre tactic which is clearly not working as they are wingers who like to run at their man and beat them, not cut inside and look for a pass.
Of course, Holloway knows what he is doing, but it appears he is trying to shape the personnel to his tactics, rather than his tactics to the personnel at his disposal. At times that may work brilliantly, but as yet there is not much evidence of it.
Comments are closed on this article.