Last night may have ended in bitter disappointment for Palace fans thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late winner but midway through the second half we were treated to a moment of sheer joy thanks to the ever-energetic James McArthur.
Despite a change in formation that saw Wilfried Zaha deployed in a more attacking role than he is used to, the eleven selected by Alan Pardew battled manfully against Jose Mourinho’s Reds for the most part, fighting back from a goal behind to level the scores in the second half, only to concede what would turn out to be the winner mere moments after the aforementioned Scotsman was replaced by Fraizer Campbell in the closing moments of the tie.
It would be incredibly easy to lay a huge amount of blame at the feet of referee Craig Pawson, given the fact that he and his officials decided against disallowing United’s opening goal of the night, despite it being illegal on two different counts but to do so would be to ignore the worrying tactical choices of the man who continues to occupy a place in Palace’s dugout in spite of a run which has seen him pick up just six wins in 37 Premier League games.
In truth, the game was refereed in a manner which led both sets of fans to fume at Pawson, whether you look at his failure to dismiss Marcus Rojo for a dreadful two-footed lunge on Wilfried Zaha or the call which saw the visitors have a goal incorrectly ruled out in the second half; it was an utter mess of a night from the man in the middle.
James McArthur should be waking up this morning with a feeling of contentment over his work yesterday evening but sadly, he’s likely going to be shuffling into training wondering just how we’ve managed to let another point slip from between our grasp. It’s difficult not to feel incredibly sorry for both he and his teammates, they did all they could to swim against the tide throughout.