Have a bad feeling about this. Adam Smith's ridiculous suspension will force us to play Simon Francis at right back instead of his better CB position, and that never goes well for us these days. Palace have tricks and pace down both flanks and Franno will be mullered. Moss's apology for that decision doesn't help us when the rules don't allow for yellow cards to be overturned.
Personally I'd switch to a back 3 with wing backs, so Ryan Fraser can play right wing back and give us a bit more pace. We'll see if Howe pulls any surprises.
A defeat here would hurt with an upcoming fixture list of Man United, Liverpool, Man City, and Chelsea. So this is quite a big game for us really otherwise we're going to be slipping back into trouble. Palace have clearly improved in the last month or two and aren't the shambles they were before Hodgson's introduction. Our last game against Southampton was patchy but at times quite good, we'll need to improve on that I feel to make an impact here.
It was a very entertaining game and one both sets of fans came away from pissed off I think.
First half we looked the better side and should never have let the lead slip to a 2-1 deficit. A wonder goal from Defoe papered over some cracks, we shouldn't be so limp in leading a game against a side clearly low on confidence especially at the back. Certainly shouldn't be conceding two goals so quick, got to be more robust than that.
Taking the lead from the corner had I gather some fortune involved, I didn't see it from the away end but I'm told King fouled a defender allowing Defoe the space to shoot. I would counter that by saying Palace were very physical at every set piece themselves at both ends, plenty of shirts being grabbed all over the shop which the ref turned a blind eye to. A tidy finish from Defoe, with better to come.
As for the Palace goals, that first penalty looked mighty fortunate for Palace. I'm annoyed at Begovic who had no need to give Zaha the chance to instigate the penalty, Zaha's poor touch meant the ball was going harmlessly out, yet he got the keeper to come out and then having gone past Begovic Zaha nicely left a trailing leg there hoping the keeper would catch it. He did and the pen was given. Technicality says it's probably a penalty. Ethically speaking it's poor, but that's football these days. Cracking finish, unlike the later effort.
Then it's just crap penalty area defending for the Palace second. Dann has a brilliant scoring record against us for a defender, and I won't have been the only Bournemouth fan rolling my eyes when an injury introduced Dann to the game during the first half. He was in the right place at the right time for the tap in, the build up to which was a catalogue or poor defending from us.
Defoe's cracking volley on the stroke of half time rescued us level, in a half we felt we had the better of in terms of pressure, although weren't clinical enough in creating.
Palace had much the better of the second half, they put more bodies and guts into the midfield and dominated that area. We were crying out for a third midfielder but Howe kept it 4-4-2 and we kept struggling. We did have some chances on the counter including one for Defoe that was far easier than either of his earlier finishes. But taking a win from that second half would have been undeserved. If a winner was to come it was only going to come from Palace.
For their stoppage time penalty I don't really know what happened, a challenge went in from our defender in a fairly innocuous position of the box, not somewhere you really want to be taking risks anyway. The challenge didn't look particularly bad, but the view from the away end is poor so I'll need to see it again. Beneteke's penalty was poor, sort of in between the middle and the corner, right where a keeper would want it. It was also a good height for the keeper. As long as the keeper went the right way he was likely to stop it.
In the circumstances we'd take the point. Should have come out of that first half with a lead really, but second half Palace came on strong. Zaha is a very frustrating player with his at best buying, and occasionally outright faking of fouls. These days its so common, but Zaha is one of the more common, perhaps better, 'offenders' of it.