Crystal Palace remained unbeaten in their 2016 pre-season campaign following a 1-0 win over Colchester on Monday night thanks to a wonderful Jordon Mutch strike.
With Alan Pardew’s first-team set to play another friendly tonight against AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow, the side that the gaffer put out against Colchester was missing one or two regulars, but in general, we saw a relatively powerful starting XI on show from kick-off.
In what was a genuinely bright start to the game from the Eagles, their early pressure on the U’s goal paid dividends when Mutch saw the ball rolled into his path by midfield partner Jason Puncheon, before pinging a beautifully directed right-footed shot into the top right corner of the Colchester net after just nine minutes.
Whilst many would have expected Palace’s players to kick on and add to their early lead throughout the remainder of the game, we actually saw the hosts grab far more of a foothold in the game, testing the Eagles stopper Alex McCarthy on more than one occasion, even though they were unable to ever break through our collective defensive efforts.
Having seen the likes of Dann, Delaney, Ward, Bolasie, Townsend and Puncheon play the majority of the game, it would be fair to assume that they will now miss out on tonight’s tie with Wimbledon, clearing the path for Zaha, Tomkins and Martin Kelly to step in and fill their shoes, in the hope of building a rounded level of match fitness throughout the squad ahead of the new season getting underway.
Still without the players who took part in Euro 2016 with both Wales and France, the gaffer will inevitably to shuffle his pack in South West London tonight in the hope of dodging any unnecessary injuries, whilst also putting out a group that he feels are capable of maintaining our recent unbeaten run.
Who knows, perhaps Jordon Mutch will pull out another corker to win it for Pardew. He’s undoubtedly got it in the locker.