Game 3: Saturday 23 August 1997
Leeds United 0 - 2 Crystal Palace
(Half-time: 0 - 1)
Referee: U D Rennie (Sheffield)
|« Sheffield Wednesday
|Martyn, Kelly, Robertson, Wetherall, Wallace, Hasselbaink, Ribeiro (Kewell 73), Bowyer (Haaland 73), Hopkin, Halle (Radebe 46), Molenaar
|Miller, Edworthy, Gordon, Roberts, Tuttle, Linighan, Lombardo (Fullarton 79), Warhurst (Shipperley 75), Dyer (Freedman 68), Rodger, Muscat
|Warhurst 22, Lombardo 51
|Tuttle, Dyer, Linighan
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers
|A view from Too near the front of the West stand
|Voice of Football
|Leeds feathers ruffled by bald Eagle
|Stylish Lombardo provides brain to undermine the brawn of Leeds
|The Sunday Times
|Palace are too smart for master tactician
|The Electronic Telegraph
|Palace new guard rule over an uninspired Leeds
|Links to Reports on the net
|Soccernet match report
|Carlingnet match report
Second half Halle off Radebe on. Leeds changed their formation to 3-5-2 with Robertson and Kelly the Wing Backs. We played a lot better though still too much long, high stuff that Tuttle and Linegan(sp) took in their stride. Than a chance to score, with Kevin Millar on the floor Jimmy headed over. Our best chance of the game gone. Shortly after this against the run of play Lombardo, the best player on the Pitch, crafted an excellant goal. After this Leeds were also rans. Jimmy winging and the midfield incresingly deflated. But for the introduction of Harry Kewell and the Groballaresk antics of Englands No.13,late on I would have been wise to go home.
Overall we played STUPID football for most of the game. Long Balls from our Defence or from a midfield playing too deep gave Jimmy or Wallace little chance. They played well and fully deserved the win. Still anouther day we would have scored a goal.
The scores on the doors.
Martyn-6-Could do little about each
goal though was very lucky not to be punished when he went
walkabout on TWO occasions. Seaman for England.
Halle-4-Quick, but on todays performance shit. Lost the number of times he lost control. Came off at half time.
Robertson-6-OK game. Good going forward though overall made only a modest impression.
Wetherall-6-Reasonable game at the back at the back though poor distribution let him down. Still Bryan the Snail Slow.
Molenar(Sp)-7- As Wetherall but more dangerous at Corners.
Radebe-7- Only on for 45 mins. A class act but made one or two errors that could have proved costly.
Kelly-7.5- Best player for our side and seemed to be carrying an injured right hand for most of the match. Compets well though not an intelligant player.
Hopkin-7.5- Hoffed and Puffed. Couldn't motivate his teamates. Looked better as the game moved on. Looked a GOOD BUY though not at his best today. He will score some goals over the season though.
Bowyer-5- Easily the wost I've seen him play. Not even very aggressive. I can see why Ellie the Elephant wears the No. 11.
Wallace-7- Tried his heart out though very very rearly saw a decent ball. If he wrer only over 6 feet tall.
Jimmy-6- Occasionally Dangerous . Mostly inaffective. This man can't lead the line. Winger extrodinaire.
"Alfie" and "Harry" on too little time though Harry looks class.
Roll on Liverpool we surely can only get better.
My main grumble was the total lack of attacks down the left hand side. Why was Bruno continually playing in the middle? When Kewell came on, we immediately looked more threatening. Also, Molenaar is a donkey. Apart from that, the first half saw Palace playing nice football whilst we were just hoofing it. Sorry, but Hasselbaink is not tall enough for that style of play.
Martyn - 5. Not England's number 1 by
a large margin. Bruce Grobbelaar nearer the mark.
Kelly - 7
Halle - 5. Shite. (Replaced by Radebe - 8. Class)
Molenaar - 5
Weatherall - 7
Robertson - 6. Will never be as good as Dorigo. Why have we bought him?
Bowyer - 5 Needs to sort himself out
Hopkins - 6 Looks overpriced
Bruno - 6
Wallace - 8
Hasselbaink - 7 (Still not as good as an overweight Yeboah!)
Subs - Kewell - 8, Haaland - 6
Graham In (for now)
Having been praised as potenital European qualifiers, if not championship material on the basis of their first two games, Leeds appeared on Saturday to have taken the same approach. They knew they had the talent win the title, but just couldn't really be bothered with it all now. Okay, so they probably didn't go down the Tartan Bar at Leeds Uni, but probably the Majestic or Mr Craigs instead. Certainly, still being pissed from the night before can be the only explanation for a performance of jaw-dropping decrepitude.
Martyn, last year solid as a rock, appeared to lose the plot several times during a shaky match, charging out to tackle palace strikers only to miscue the ball in Palmer-esque style. On three occassions he was lucky not to secure his place in this season's Danny Baker Bloopers and Blunders collection. And he seemed on occassion, pathetically grateful for the opportunity to catch the ball at all.
Halle, who seemed a revelation when he came to leeds last season, appeared half asleep from the kick off, and contributed to the shakiness of the first half hour's play.
Hopkin did indeed "huff and puff" a lot, before making more misplaced passes than Carlton on a night out in search of totty. Jimmy appeared at one point to be close to physically attacking him in retailiation for the poverty of service on offer.
The rest of them just hoofed the ball up field in the hope that our munchkin like attack could beat a team at least three inches taller on average to the ball. In passing, How tall is Jimmy? He seems to shrink by the week - 6'4" in pre-season reports; probably 5'10" against the Arse; maybe 5'8" on Saturday. Whatever, he didn't get the ball. And neither did semi-dwarf Ribeiro, who unsuprisingly failed to connect with persistent crosses in from the right from Jimmy/Wallace/Kelly. You have to admire him for trying (nobody else was), but also you have to wonder where our much hyped striking talent was (usually hanging back and arguing with team-mates, failing to run into half-way decent positions and sulking like even Yeboah never managed - at least before the injury he ran his heart out for us).
The first Palace goal seemed to motivate the team, and for the last fifteen minutes of the half Leeds genuiinely tried, passing the ball around a bit, avoiding the senseless hoof, and making Palace look the relegation candidates they undoubtedly are. But any hope that this prefaced a dominant second half were shattered soon after.
Radebe came on, and made us look much better at the back. He seems irreplaceable - if he's injured for any length of time we'll fall apart at the back. Indeed, he must get at least as much credit as Martyn for creating our fortress defence of last season.
I was thinking all these thoughts when Lombardo tore us apart with a dinky move from the middle of the park, catching the ball over his back and shoulder, passing it, running on and scoring. He made us look like talentless Sunday football in the park wasters.
After that there was no catching up, and we were lucky not to go further behind due to Martyn's idiotic walkabouts. Its conceivable that he felt he needed to play in a central defensive role rather than in goal because of our defence's fragile performance. Or maybe he'd had few too many lunches with Malaysian businessmen. Who knows? (answers on a postacard please)
By the end, with people streaming out so fast, the stadium looked as if it would empty before full time, the crowd was singing "What the fuck is going on", and abusing all and sundry in terms normally reserved in the past for Nigel Worthington. The Palace fans, quite truthfully, sang "Your not very good", proving they have more than just the imaginative "We are Palace, Crystal palace" in their repertoire.
Martyn - 4 - very poor game. unlikely
to make the England squad for France if he does it again. Worrying
tendency to go out and try and clear the ball from outside his
penalty area only _after_ dribbling it past Palace strikers. Which
he couldn't. Bizarre.
Halle - 2 - asleep. stupid. out of character.
Mollenaar - 5 - not too bad for a slow and skilless player. His main weapons are his height, and yet he failed to dominate in the air, and his strength - but this only came into play when aimlessly hoofing the ball upfield. And better than
Weatherall - 4 -seemed to have no confidence at all. strange really. It was like he was playing for Wilko again.
Kelly - 6 - one of our better players. Good wing work. Took decent corners. Let down by colleagues.
Robertson - 5 - at times encouraging going forward - not quite prime-Dorigo, but acceptable Dorigo-lite. Not always very confident in defence, though.
Ribeiro -5 - a few touches of class, but didn't really show much. Tried very hard to make up for Jimmy's lack of interest in the game by pushing forward to where the big girls blouse should have been playing.
Hopkin - 4 - woefully misguided in midfield. Just not very good. Perhaps shaken by the Palace taunts of "You've got Hopkin, we've got Lombardo". Or by his colleagues complete lack of touch.
Bowyer - 3 - total shite. This boy needs to go back to the reserves for a few weeks to get it back together. only one worthwhile touch, when he burst through in the first half and was brought down on the edge of the penalty area.
Wallace - 7 - committed. Ran his little legs off trying to create things, and often looked dangerous when the ball was on the floor. Never able to compete when it was being hoofed up the pitch by the wankers at the back. The best Leeds player on the pitch throughout the game.
Jimmy - 4 - occassionally dangerous. Spent most of his time wandering around arguing with teammates. Lazy like you would not believe. But maybe disillusioned at the poor quality of ball he was getting for the first half-hour of the match. Once we went well behind, didn't seem to bother anymore.
Radebe - 8 - As I said in the main
report, a class above anything else we had. Poor management from
Graham to leave him out of the starting lineup (despite the obvious
temptation not to break up a winning team). He'll not make that
mistake again. Lucas simply clears up everything, making us often
look better atthe back than we really are. And passed the ball on
the ground. If he'd been on at the start he'd probably have
sneakily crocked Lombardo early on, giving us more of a chance.
Kewell - 5 - not on for long. But in that time looked way better than out of form Bowyer. By a mile. This boy will be admired for his silky skills in time, methinks.
Haaland - ? - barely noticeable after he came on.
I just think I'll go and lie down now.
Dark horses for the title, perhaps?
Look on the bright side, after 11 months of excuses we now know that this shit is truly GG's shit, and not shit he's inherited from the Mad Dog.
Palace - they came, they swarmed, they conquered. They were a big physical team, with fighting spirit, and a tactical plan. They beat us fair and square.
The goals - the first came after Robertson had gone down while no-one was anywhere near him - a few round us were trying to find the grassy knoll - the ball was switched to their left wing, where the winger went about his business completely unhindered by the hopeless Halle, swung the cross beyond the CHalfs to Warhurst at the back post - no one covered Robertson. For the 2nd Lombardo waltzed through unchallenged, played a 1-2, went round Nige, a rolled it home - on the replay I thought Molenaar could have blocked that but hey...
Leeds - This is where the problem lies. The team simply forgot how to play the football that had brought reasonable success in the previous 2 games. and if the other team is making it hard for you, well, that's their job, its what they are there for, you have to earn the right to play football. We didn't. There seemed to be a complete lack of intelligence out there on our side. Only Lucas and Bruno even tried to play anything other than the long - aimless - hoofed ball. Jimmy and Rod are not going to beat 5 Andy Linighans at all, ever... its not hard to work that out.
MARTYN -4- Been on the Carlton juice
the night before I think - 2 horrific sorties out of his box.
HALLE -1- Complete bollocks - couldn't pass, tackle, or even foul his man. Never got close enough. Half-time substitution too good for him.
ROBERTSON -4- I'm still not convinced.
MOLENNAR -3- Was and is a one trick pony - a big lumbering bloke who'll win his fair share in the air, get the odd thundering challenge in, and plays will guts - but he's not good enough all round- I think that he'll be sussed out this year. He is no Lucas, that's for sure.
WETHERALL -5- not brilliant, but steady - ish
KELLY -5- He's a out of position full back, not a midfield player. We need a right back. His main contribution to the team effort at the moment are crosses, of varying quality.
HOPKIN/BOWYER -4- anonymous, by-passed.
RIBERIO -6- hardly given the ball enough to warrant a mention - however, when he does get it, he is the only member of our side that can play short 10 yard balls on the deck, that take out 2 or 3 opposition men. Intelligence - that's the word I'm looking for.
ROD -6- for effort mainly against the blinding incompetence of his teammates. And for not...
JIMMY -4- ... whinging about it to all and sundry.
LUCAS -8- a godlike presence that rose from the depths in an attempt to avert disaster.
ALFIE/HARRY - why do we have 2 Michael Caine characters on the bench ?
Kewell was OK.
Harland - did any ever say, when Alfie played here against Leeds, "cor I wish we'd sign him he looks well handy" NO, exactly.
The crowd was shit indeed. Although the Hobserver was impressed at our rarely shown sportsmanship in applauding Slaphead off the park. Hmm .
Nick, all revved up for another shout at David James " Dodgy Keeper".
Kelly looked out of position on the wing. The first goal built down his channel, though Ribeiro didn't track back to cover for the injured Robertson and Warhurst benefitted. Harsh to blame the two central defenders for failing to mark what should have been the full back's zone. A little later Robertson, under pressure from a forward, headed a similar cross away for a corner.
Second half was especially disappointing. We showed little passion and no new ideas. Hopkin, Bowyer and Ribeiro looked similar and similarly unimaginative. At least when Haaland and Kewell came on they tried to pass to feet - this actually set up a couple of chances for Kewell.
Martyn 5 - poor judgement and some
Halle 2 - let's hope it was just a hangover from his international duty, poor;
Molenaar 5 - strong but slow, probably at fault for both the goals;
Wetherall 5 - much as Molenaar;
Robertson 6 - not much wrong but relatively anonymous, injured for 1st goal;
Radebe on for Halle in a back three, 7 - tightened things up considerably)
Kelly 5 - looked like a full back played out of position;
Bowyer 6 - poor first half, slightly better second, some nice touches;
Hopkin 5 - ran around a good deal, first touch weak, passing atrocious;
Ribeiro 4 - largely anonymous;
(Haaland and Kewell on late for Bowyer and Ribeiro - no time for much impact, still looked our two most creative players);
Hasselbaink 5 - whinged a good deal, fouled a fair bit, got awful service;
Wallace 3 - too much to expect three decent games in a row.
Without wanting to stir an already overdone thread back into life, I really don't see why Brolin couldn't be given a run out. We lacked any creative spark on Saturday and I would rate even a disillusioned and half fit Tubby as a way better player than the Plonker. Even if GG does want rid of Brolin surely a few 1st team games might help to sell him for a good price.
As the pundits often say, we haven't become a bad team overnight, but our limitations are pretty obvious, and it's OK GG saying we need more creativity from midfield, but some of us have been saying that for nigh on 3 years. Anyway, the clubs best passer of the ball is currently not on speaking terms with him - in the circumstances you'd think GG might just try Brolin out, cos what's needed is some real class, and Brolin had it once - who knows he might just rediscover it? Whatever, against the likes of Palace, Leicester, Wimbledon, we're gonna struggle cos even when you're just battling you need someone who can open games up with a single pass TO FEET, rather than the long punt onto Any Linighans head. Never can that useless c*** have looked so good??
Scores - about 6.5 each except for:-
Martyn 6 - touch of the Grobelaars
twice - looked worse on MOTD than satdi and have to wonder what he
and Molenaar/Weatherall say to each other
Halle 5 - although I don't actually blame him entirely for his poor half - Molenaar seemed to be always jogging back to catch up with play
Molenaar - 3 Radebe is our first choice centre-back, of that there should be no doubt now!
Bowyer 5 - since Summer hasn't looked the same player, and now that he's not such a key player seems to be hitting a dip in form. Also, GGs comments last week that he isn't yet as good an all-round player as Hopkin seem all too true, although I doubt it did him much good to hear that from GG?
The Plonker & Jimmy - terrible service to them, and they did what they could in the circumstances. However, their lack of physical presence should be borne in mind - there are lots of teams who'll play us like Palace did! I know this'll get the usual response, but Wallace simply isn't good enough if w've got any serious illusions about being successful this season, despite his good start. Him and Jimmy link well, but their lack of ability to hold the ball up is frightening!
Robertson 5 - The jury is still out on him for me - why we didn't keep Dorigo I don't know. It's one thing wanting to have the team evolve, but to change everything in one fell swoop could be a mistake.
Johnny Giles was espousing the view today that GG will still get it right, despite Satdi's hiccup, although he also mentioned the fact that it took 6 years for both GG at Arse and Spit at Scum to get any success! Oh bugger!
PS - did I mention the fact that I thought Molenaar was crap!!??
There are few recorded incidents of a visiting player being given a standing ovation at Elland Road but, with so little to commend in their own players, the normally partisan Leeds crowd ignored the habits of a lifetime for the sake of Attilio Lombardo on Saturday.
"Back to square one" was how the Leeds manager George Graham described their toothless performance but, while the blame may partly be ascribed to United's negligent defending, woeful distribution and ineffectual midfield, Crystal Palace could claim to have, in Lombardo, a player with the innate intelligence to exploit such failings --- that and an intricate tactical plan.
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