What a great first half, apart from the opening 10-15 minutes, it was against our local rivals Queens Park Rangers at the weekend.
The R’s manager Chris Ramsey made a few surprise changes to his side, starting Ian Wright’s son Shaun Wright-Philips and maverick central midfielder Adel Taarabt. At the start of the game Ramsey appeared to match our 4-2-3-1 system.
After an initial shaky period where we looked nervous, we settled and played some rampaging attacking football where both wingers were on top form running with the ball and creating chances, it was some of the best of the season for me. I felt a bit sorry for young QPR defender Darnell Furlong who was substituted at half-time, because he won't have come up against many better players than Yannick in full flow.
Jason Puncheon was composed, his passing was crisp and accurate and he got the ball to Wilf and Yannick as much as he could. Saturday's first half was as close to an identity of football as it comes when you mention Palace; two quick wingers whose duty it was to get the ball into the box as much possible and to be direct and determined. Gone was the faking of a cross to change direction, and once they were past an opponent that ball was delivered into the box or blocked for a corner.
QPR couldn’t cope with the constant runs of our wingers and our full-backs were there as a secondary option if Yannick and Wilf were crowded out. Glenn Murray lead the line well and deserved a goal but he shouldn’t worry, his goals will come as the crosses continue to fly into the box.
James McArthur can be a player who could reach double figures because of the way he times his runs into the box, and I was pleased for Joel Ward to score his first goal for the club too. We always compare players and when I look at Everton and England defender Phil Jagielka, I ask myself is he better than Scott Dann? I think Scott has shown brilliant consistency, he’s so composed and is a leader and I just wonder if he’s being overlooked internationally.
Since Alan Pardew took we have looked more positive in every department and that is backed up with the data that the team are running more at a higher intensity. Things are taking shape and talk of being safe is annoying; that was our objective at the start of the season but we now have nine matches to improve on 11th place and 45 points last season.
Pards has had 12 games as manager, in those games we’ve scored 22 goals and in the 12 games prior to his arrival we scored just nine. He wanted more goals and more goalscorers and the message is getting through with a defender a midfielder and a forward all getting on the scoresheet on Saturday.