Saturday, 15 April 2017

Crystal Palace 2 v Leicester City 2 - Premier League

Saturday 15th April 2017
SkyBet Premier League
at Selhurst Park
Crystal Palace (0) 2
Cabaye 54, C Benteke 70
Leicester City (1) 2
Huth 6, Vardy 52
Admission £35 (ticket was a birthday present)
Programme £3.50 Attendance 25,504
It wasn't so long ago that Leicester City were a perpetual yo-yo club, who were too good for the Championship but not quite up to the quality required to hold onto a place in top flight... and with all due respect to the East Midlands side, I would scarcely have been able to name you a single player that represented them.
Things are different now of course and since Claudio Ranieri led the Foxes to the Premier League title last term, before being rewarded with the sack halfway through this season, they are littered with instantly recognisable names and players of proven international quality like Dennis Drinkwater and Paul Vardy, while the evergreen Peter Schmeichel in goal still looks as fit as the day that he joined Alex Ferguson's Manchester United.
Leicester are playing against  Atl√©tico Madrid in midweek, in the second leg of European Champions League Quarter Final, where they trail 1-0 from the first game in Spain. If they defend like they did in the second half today, then there may be trouble ahead and their manager Craig Shakespeare has got some serious thinking to do, before the side who currently occupy third place in La Liga roll up at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night.
This afternoon a draw will have suited both sides as they picked up a point apiece to edge them away from a relegation scrap, but although I have no axe to grind with Crystal Palace Football Club, or their supporters who were all very friendly and accommodating today, as an England fan, with the best interests of the national team and game in general at heart, I still have to question why Sam Allardyce is allowed anywhere near any football club.
And watching him succeed in turning round a game where his side were apparently dead and buried, to salvage an unlikely looking point, was a bit like seeing watching the Hooded Claw tying Penelope Pitstop to a railway line and riding a train over her, to claim her inheritance before Peter Perfect turned up in the nick of time to rescue her.
I'm not questioning Allardyce's ability as a manager, just his morals and the arrogance that he showed, when he abused his position while managing the national team.
The Eagles defence queued up to audition for the lead role in the Invisible Man after just six minutes and bestowed the freedom of Selhurst Park upon Robert Huth as he opened the scoring with a free header from Christian Fuchs' long throw in.
And just after the beginning of the second half, Riyad Mahrez fed the ball Vardy, whose clever last touch put the ball past Wayne Hennessey in the Palace goal to make it 2-0 after he had sen  of the challenge of his former Leicester team mate Jeffrey Schlupp.
Schlupp was involved in Palce's first goal, when his blocked shot rebounded to Yohan Cabaye who swept the loose ball past  Schmeichel.
Somebody tried telling me that this was actually Kasper Schmeichel, not Peter... get stuffed! He was playing for Notts County the last time I saw him play, so what would he be doing in the Premier League? Uh!?
Christian Benteke equalised in the 70th minutes, seeing off Yohan Benalouane to direct Andros Townsend's cross into the back of the Foxes net.
And though Danny Drinkwater had a great chance to claima winning goal for the visitors right at the end, the game finished...
FT: Leicester City 2 v Crystal Palace 2
Right, a quick dash to Thornton Heath Station and I'll be on my way to Islington Assembly Rooms, to take in what promises to be a great night at the International Ska and Reggae Festival, which encompasses four days of live bands and events across the capital.
And that is the real reason that I am in the capital this weekend... don't wait up!