Last Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with AFC Bournemouth provided the clearest example of the cliched “game of two halves” that you’re ever likely to witness from a Crystal Palace perspective, prompting James McArthur to explain how Alan Pardew approached his half-time team-talk when speaking to the Croydon Advertiser shortly after Mike Dean brought the match to a close.
Having seen him play against Blackpool on Tuesday and Eddie Howe’s Cherries on Saturday, plenty will be surprised to hear James disclose the details of a sickness bug that he had been struggling with in the build-up to last weekend’s clash, particularly when they consider the energetic display he produced in the middle of the park throughout.
Never one to sugar-coat the truth, McArthur readily admits that the opening 45 minutes were unacceptable against Bournemouth before offering a genuine insight into how the half-time interval was handled by manager Alan Pardew. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised given Jimmy’s easy-going manner, but even for him, the comments display a commendable level of candour.
From there, the Scotsman goes on to sing the praises of our new record signing Christian Benteke, who alongside Steve Mandanda proved to be one of the few elements within Saturday’s game which provoked a sense of optimism in the stands from the first minute until the last. Some may have worries about the disparity in wages between the powerful Belgian and a selection of his new teammates, but if McArthur’s words above are anything to go by, he and the rest of the lads have already been won over by the quality that the 25-year-old possesses.
The interview ends with McArthur being pressed for a view on the immediate future of winger Wilfried Zaha, who has been continuously linked with Tottenham Hotspur in recent days. It is a story which certainly won’t have helped the general atmosphere around the training ground of late and somewhat predictably, James does his best to play away the probing question posed to him with a straight bat.