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Crystal Palace 0 Cardiff City 0: Townsend & Milivojevic strike woodwork

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 26 Dec 2018

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Crystal Palace’s recent momentum was halted as they failed to break down Cardiff City in a 0-0 Premier League draw at Selhurst Park.

Roy Hodgson’s side came into Wednesday’s game on a high after back-to-back wins over Leicester City and Manchester City, but the closest they came to a goal was two efforts against the woodwork.

Andros Townsend hit the crossbar after 66 seconds, while captain Luka Milivojevic sent a free-kick against the post in the closing stages.

A fine late reflex save from Vicente Guaita denied Kadeem Harris as Cardiff almost snatched a victory, but Neil Warnock will be happy with a battling point against his former club that stops a two-game losing run.

Palace came flying out the traps and they struck the bar when Townsend’s dinked finish beat Neil Etheridge but did not quite dip fast enough, after great work from Wilfried Zaha to create the opportunity.

Zaha and Townsend were just off target with other efforts while Milivojevic had a shot saved as Palace dominated possession and play.

But Cardiff provided a warning shortly before the break when they worked a move that saw Bobby Reid miscue a header over from six yards, while Junior Hoilett and Joe Ralls warmed the hands of Vicente Guaita.

Cheikhou Kouyate was heavily involved after the break, having one shot blocked before lashing another effort narrowly over from six yards after a deflection from a set piece presented him with a huge chance.

Max Meyer, Zaha and James McArthur lashed efforts just over as Palace still failed to cause Etheridge many problems.

Hodgson brought on Connor Wickham for Meyer, and he fired over from eight yards on the turn shortly after his arrival, before Palace had their best moment of the game. When Victor Camarasa fouled Townsend, Milivojevic’s 20-yard curler bounced off the post.

But Cardiff almost nicked it when Mamadou Sakho’s poor clearance led to Harris’ attempt being impressively kept out by Guaita, Zaha and Patrick van Aanholt having late efforts saved by Etheridge at the other end as the match finished level.

 

What does it mean? Both sides creep away from bottom three

Palace and Cardiff both edge a point further away from the bottom three after Burnley’s defeat to Everton. Palace now sit seven clear, while Cardiff’s cushion is three points.

With all Palace’s quality, you get the sense they could surge further up the table with a reliable goalscorer, while Cardiff will need plenty of the fight displayed here if they are to survive.

Cardiff’s defence stands firm

After shipping five goals to Manchester United last time out, and 38 in their first 18 games of the season, Cardiff’s defence delivered here.

Sol Bamba overcame a minor first-half injury to rack up 11 clearances and five tackles, Sean Morrison had 13 clearances, and Bruno Ecuele Manga’s superb late challenge on Zaha snuffed out what would have been an opportunity for a winner.

Meyer yet to showcase star quality

Meyer failed to find the target with five shots on goal and did not create a single chance for his team-mates before his 63rd-minute substitution. The 23-year-old arrived from Schalke with a big reputation but is yet to score and has just two assists in 16 Palace appearances.

Key Opta Facts:

– Crystal Palace mustered 31 shots in the game, their highest tally of shots in a Premier League game since 2003-04.
– Palace’s 31 shots was the joint-most Cardiff have ever faced in a Premier League game, level with their clash with Norwich City in October 2013, which also ended 0-0.
– Cardiff are winless in their last five league games played on Boxing Day (D2 L3), with their last such win coming against Crystal Palace in 2012-13 (2-1).
– This game was the first-ever Premier League meeting between two managers aged over 70, with Cardiff boss Neil Warnock aged 70y 25d and Crystal Palace’s Roy Hodgson aged 71y 139d on the day of the game.
– Each of Hodgson’s five Premier League games on Boxing Day have ended 0-0.
– Warnock is unbeaten in his last 10 away league games at Selhurst Park (W6 D4).

What’s next?

Palace are at home to Chelsea on Sunday, while a day before Cardiff will seek a first win in four when they are on their travels again, with Leicester City their next opponents.

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