FOOT­BALL NERD ALIS­TAIR TWEEDALE

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Premier League -

Crys­tal Palace are a cu­ri­ous side. One week they pro­duce the up­set of the sea­son, scor­ing three times away to the cham­pi­ons, in­clud­ing the likely goal of the sea­son in An­dros Townsend’s thump­ing vol­ley, and just days later they draw 0-0 at home to a rather more lim­ited team in Cardiff.

Those who have watched Palace lately will recog­nise that level of in­con­sis­tency – and a dearth of goals on home turf – as in keep­ing with their sea­son. Hav­ing played much of the

cam­paign with­out a fit cen­tre-for­ward, goals have been hard to come by – mid­fielder and penal­ty­taker Luka Milovo­je­vic has scored twice as many in the league as any team­mate – and man­ager Roy Hodgson has made de­fen­sive so­lid­ity his pri­or­ity.

One clear aim has been keep things tight at home, and that has been achieved im­pres­sively. Only Liverpool (three) and Chelsea (eight) have con­ceded fewer league goals at home this sea­son than Palace’s nine, which is bet­ter than Manch­ester City, Arse­nal and United.

How­ever, there has been a ma­jor com­pro­mise at the other end, with Palace hav­ing scored only five goals in 10 home matches.

What is more, just three of those have come from open play, and one was a fluke, with James Mcarthur’s over­hit cross against Burn­ley in De­cem­ber elud­ing ev­ery­one and trick­ling in­side Joe Hart’s far post.

A lack of goals scored com­bined with the fact that only five of those they have con­ceded came in open play makes Sel­hurst Park the least en­ter­tain­ing of all top-flight grounds in this re­gard. No other sta­dium has seen fewer than 13 goals from open play this sea­son.

The club may ar­gue that tick­ets are cheaper than at other Lon­don grounds, but what­ever price Palace are charg­ing, it is hard to ar­gue that you will find any­thing like value for money when it comes to en­ter­tain­ment at Sel­hurst Park.

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