An experimental Crystal Palace side beat Ipswich Town 2-1 at Selhurst Park yesterday, thanks to a beautiful brace from Scottish midfielder James McArthur in the second half.
The side Frank de Boer started the game with looked on paper, to be a strange combination and so it proved so in the opening 45 minutes. Patrick van Aanholt, known for being left footed, was placed on the right-hand side, whilst academy graduate Sullay Kaikai was played at the head of the team; a role that saw him occasionally drifting back into wide areas rather than remaining central.
Although the Dutchman had Benteke on the bench in case of an emergency, he resisted the urge to use him and instead persisted with the attacking threat posed by Lokilo and Kaikai; a decision which I feel he deserves real credit for in hindsight.
After swapping Dann for Timothy Fosu-Mensah at the interval, he then threw on Townsend for van Aanhlot and Lee Chung-Yong for Kaikai, with both of the latter switches making a noticeable difference on the team’s flow.
The opening goal of the night was beautifully taken by McArthur, racing towards goal at pace, cutting back on the edge of the penalty area and curling an effort into the far corner of the net in front of the Holmesdale Road.
The second saw the ball rolled into McArthur’s feet from the left wing, allowing him to set his feet 18 yards out and fire a strike into the top right-hand corner with genuine authority. It was a performance that will surely have convinced the new boss of Jimmy’s worth to the squad, particularly when you consider the struggles we’ve had to score goals so far this term.
It may not have been a totally convincing 90 minute performance but after the last couple of weeks, I’ll take any win we can get. Hopefully, this provides the confidence boost necessary for us to go and pick up our first three points of the season at home to Swansea this weekend.