By Simon Mills
I’m running out of ways to start writing my blogs following a one-goal defeat. We need to get a result from somewhere soon, if not just so I can write something different!
I could talk about how we hit the crossbar again, I could talk about the run Leicester are on this season and I could talk about how the fates are conspiring for them to win the league, while the football gods punish us for actually believing we would have one comfortable season in the Premier league… But then it’s the same kind of things I’ve written and Palace fans all over have been going on about for the past three months.
Looking back at the game itself (which I’m starting to really dislike doing!), it was another case of a poor first half costing us, and too little too late as we improved in the second. If we could only manage a consistently good performance across the 90 minutes, we might actually get back to winning ways.
Martin Kelly put in a very strong claim for the left back spot, with a very good display in the second half, while Bakary Sako gave us another taste of the promise he demonstrated earlier in the season. I actually think it’s a real shame Emmanual Adebayor wasn’t on the pitch in the second half as I think with the ball coming into the box as much as it did – that would have been where he would have thrived.
Still, Leicester are a very good side and I wish them all the best in their pursuit of the Premier League crown, it would be a remarkable achievement and one that would give every team in the league hope that they could replicate what they have done this season in the future.
For the first time this season, we go into an international break on a real low. With nine senior players going away with their countries, hopefully this is a chance for everyone to take a breather and gain some much needed confidence to come back ready for a big push in the final weeks of the domestic season. While we supporters usually hate non Palace weekends, it is also a chance for us to draw breath and take stock before we come back needing a really big drive to get behind the boys, giving them every ounce of support we can muster during such an important period.
Club captain Mile Jedinak will equal Aki Riihilahti’s record as most capped player during his time at Palace, assuming he plays his 36th game for Australia since he joined the club – a big congratulations to the big man. Meanwhile; Chung-yong Lee will represent South Korea, Yannick Bolasie for DR Congo, Pape Soure for Senegal, Adrian Mariappa for Jamaica, Yohan Cabaye for France and of course, Welsh trio Wayne Hennessey, Joe Ledley and Jonny Williams (on loan at MK Dons) will all be preparing for the upcoming Euros in former Eagle Chris Coleman’s squad.
While it is great to see those players represent for their countries I think it is also important to mention two players who will not be making trips for such an honour.
Bakary Sako, who recently returned from injury, will not be joining up with Mali to play in their qualifiers so that he can focus on regaining full fitness. Emmanuel Adebayor has also shown his commitment to the Palace cause, having turned down a call up for his native Togo in order to ensure he can give priority to his work with the club and concentrate on getting himself into pique condition to help us in our current plight.
It must be a very difficult thing to turn down the chance to feature for your country, so the fact that these two players made the decision in the interests of the bigger picture (mainly for the club), is a testament to their dedication to the cause at this point. I have seen plenty of people question the desire of Adebayor, but when he is willing to give up an international call-up for the sake of doing what he feels is best for the club, I don’t think there is any doubt of his determination to succeed.
I wish all of our players success, I look forward to seeing them all back fully fit and full of confidence in time for our next game at Upton Park in a couple of weeks from now.
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