All of the time: Unchained Ledley
In quite bad form for a column about Crystal Palace, I didn’t really see Saturday’s match fully and I’ve only just watched Match of the Day.
To clarify, I did watch the game, but while using a screwdriver as a hammer and from behind a chaos of Ikea flat-pack furniture, dust clouds and cardboard mess.
As Palace kicked off I was assembling a rather large, cheap and complicated DVD case, in the middle of moving into a new flat.
To be honest, it’s impossible to say I didn’t really see the game.
I was distracted from the DIY and spent most of the time from 3pm glancing up nervously at my laptop every time the commentator raised his voice.
It probably wasn’t the best introduction to my new neighbours, to hear me roaring three times within my first six hours in the building.
They were guttural, overjoyed roars, usually confined to my seat at Selhurst, but this time unleashed in an echoing, unfurnished flat.
Yet all week I’d been so terrified about the return of Wilfried Zaha.
The ex-Eagle did seem threatening once or twice, but really he looked like a young man desperate to impress and badly overcompensating.
It was like Zaha at the start of his time in the Palace first team, before he’d honed his game and raised his efficiency.
Not so scary after all: Wilfried Zaha failed to trouble his old employers
While over on the other flank I really enjoyed the combination play between Adrian Mariappa and Jason Puncheon - which seems to be getting smoother and more natural with every passing game.
Obviously, Puncheon will deservedly grab the headlines with his goals – the final one causing an absolutely neighbour-frightening reaction from me – but a whole host of Palace players were great again.
Chamakh might have been introduced at 1-0 when Cardiff already had one foot in the grave, but he looked effortlessly brilliant and helped secure the three points.
Holding the ball up perfectly and exasperating tired Cardiff defenders, Chamakh almost buried the free kick that Joe Ledley poked home.
He also pulled off a clever dummy that allowed the ball to run to Puncheon to whip home Palace’s spectacular third.
Ledley, returning to his childhood club for the first time, cruelly put in his best performance for Palace so far – in direct contrast to Zaha’s damp squib.
His assist for Puncheon’s first was intelligent, he worked relentlessly all game and his goal showed good awareness and a quick reaction.
The first goal, arrowed into the corner by our ex-Southampton winger, involved a sneaky, wrong-footing change of direction.
Moving in from the right and striking it with his left, low and hard, it was very typical of nearly every time Puncheon’s scored for the club so far.
His second involved similar movement, but a class of finish that made the first look scuffed and ordinary. It was a gorgeous, unstoppable, long-range curler that rounded off a perfect afternoon in Wales.
All I can say is God bless our internet provider, for arriving at the start of the 1pm-6pm slot we’d booked to get things set up, and finishing the job quickly.
It meant I could watch the biggest win of our season with glitch-free Wi-Fi from start to finish.
If it had not been for them this would probably be an analysis of Robbie Savage’s punditry skills, and nobody wants that.
Needless to say, assembling that DVD case took about six times as long as it should have (even taking my construction skills into consideration).
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