Whilst Saturday’s game against West Ham was saved by a late equaliser from Wilfried Zaha, it could have been so much more had Roy Hodgson’s men taken the chances afforded to them by the Hammers over the course of the 90 minutes.
By the time Craig Pawson blew the whistle for full-time the hosts had amassed a massive 26 attempts at goal, managing to convert just one on what was another hugely frustrating afternoon. Whilst there were plenty of good chances to secure all three points, no miss was more glaring than the one made by James McArthur early in the second half and although Roy isn’t usually the sort to single out his players for criticism, he couldn’t help but make reference to it in his post-match comments.
Speaking about the game, Hodgson said: “I was disappointed. I really did think with the James McArthur chance and the Michy Batshuayi one that we were going to score. Other chances we created, their goalkeeper did very well.” Whilst he is of course not wrong in his assessment, it strikes me as a rather out of character comment for a man usually so measured and may well hint towards a certain German being given more of a chance to shine in weeks to come.
Max Meyer has been spending rather a lot of time on Crystal Palace’s bench this season, much to the annoyance of thousands of the club’s fans. Yet again on Saturday, the former Schalke man’s short cameo appearance for the aforementioned McArthur drew ooos and ahhhs from the watching crowd and might just have convinced the gaffer to give him a proper run in the side, starting with Saturday’s FA Cup tie away at Doncaster Rovers.
There can be no debate over the German international’s technical ability with size likely to be the main thing stopping Roy from throwing him into the centre of the park from week to week. If he continues to err on the side of caution in relation to Meyer’s place in the starting XI, you’d have to question why he bothered to say yes to a move for him over the summer but surely the penny will drop in his mind sooner or later?
I love James McArthur and always will but given his howler last weekend coupled with Max’s ever more impressive displays off the bench, there’s surely only one thing for the boss to do this weekend.
We live in hope.