BY SAM SMITH
Selhurst Park atmosphere subdued.
The atmosphere was a shame. There was the odd chant but with no elongation and each of them was soon drowned out by the rapturous away end. This was the first home game of the new season, against Champions League finalists, off the back of a win last weekend and a fantastic culmination to last season. It really should have been better. The sooner the feud between the club and the Holmesdale Fanatics is sorted, the better.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka gaining confidence going forward.
The Palace youngster has already gained a reputation for his excellent defending since his debut in February, but it’s not often that Palace fans see him fly forward with regularity. The winger-turned-right-back advanced forward on three occasions in the first half – in front of watching England head oach Gareth Southgate – with one of them featuring an excellent piece of skill to beat his man. He then refused to give up on a loose ball and ended up flashing an excellent cross into a dangerous area. Correctly sent off late on for clipping Mohamed Salah as he went through on goal, but will become the complete full-back in time.
Christian Benteke improved but still lacking a clinical edge.
The big Belgian held up the ball excellently against a tough centre-back partnership in Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk. Brought Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend into the game with some nice link-up play. Had one effort which could well have smashed a house window on Holmesdale Road, and still sadly lacks a clinical edge.
Wayne Hennessey is keeping his place for the foreseeable future.
The Wales international arguably kept the scoreline down, making an excellent save in each half. He has fresh competition from new signing Vicente Guaita but with the Spaniard’s lack of English, coupled with Hennessey’s good performance at Fulham, mean the Eagles stopper will remain in goal.
Max Meyer should start at Watford next weekend.
The young German played the final 10 minutes and showed some nice touches, and was unfortunate not to get on the end of a Zaha cross late on. Will be a key player for the Eagles this season in the middle of midfield.